A quarter of all premature deaths and diseases worldwide are due to manmade pollution and environmental damage, the United Nations said Wednesday in a landmark report on the planet’s parlous state.
Deadly smog-inducing emissions, chemicals polluting drinking water, and the accelerating destruction of ecosystems crucial to the livelihoods of billions of people are driving a worldwide epidemic that hampers the global economy, it warned.
The Global Environment Outlook (GEO)—a report six years in the making compiled by 250 scientists from 70 nations—depicts a growing chasm between rich and poor countries as rampant overconsumption, pollution and food waste in the developed world leads to hunger, poverty and disease elsewhere.
As greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise amid a preponderance of droughts, floods and superstorms made worse by climbing sea levels, there is a growing political consensus that climate change poses a future risk to billions.
World leaders in 2015 came up with the Paris climate deal, which saw each nation promise action to cut emissions in a bid to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C (2.7 Fahrenheit).
But the health impacts of pollution, deforestation and the mechanised food-chain are less well understood.
Nor is there any international agreement for the environment close to covering what the Paris accord does for climate.
The GEO compiles a litany of pollution-related health emergencies.
It said that poor environmental conditions “cause approximately 25 percent of global disease and mortality”—around 9 million deaths in 2015 alone.
Read more at: Phys.org