1 In Every 4 Global Deaths Are Caused Due To Pollution & Environmental Damage, Says UN Report

1 In Every 4 Global Deaths Are Caused Due To Pollution & Environmental Damage, Says UN Report

1 In Every 4 Global Deaths Are Caused Due To Pollution & Environmental Damage, Says UN Report

In today’s world, air pollution has emerged as problem the entire world is boggling its mind about. Along with hampering economies, the man-made pollution is also causing a loss of human lives. 

Loss of lives

In a report released by the United Nations (UN) on March 13, one in every four premature deaths and diseases across the world are caused due to manmade pollution and environmental damage. The report, Global Environment Outlook (GEO), said that poor environmental conditions cause approximately 25 per cent of global disease and mortality — around nine million deaths in 2015 alone.
According to the report, over 1.4 million people die every year from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and parasites linked to pathogen-riddled water and poor sanitation.

The report warns that deadly smog-inducing emissions, chemicals polluting drinking water, and the accelerating destruction of ecosystems crucial to the livelihoods of billions of people are driving the manmade pollution, hampering global economy. Compiled in six years by 250 scientists from 70 countries, the report also suggests pollution-related health emergencies that have been caused as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise amid calamities such as droughts, floods and superstorms that have caused a rise in sea levels.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD) in its study titled, The Economic Consequences Of Outdoor Air Pollution, observed that “the population-weighted average PM2.5 concentrations are already high and rapidly rising in South and East Asia, especially China and India. In large parts of North America, Europe and Africa, PM2.5 concentrations from anthropogenic sources are also high but are projected to rise less quickly”.

It also adds: “The number of premature deaths is unequally distributed across the world. The highest number of deaths takes place in non-OECD economies and particularly in China and India.”

The OECD bases these premature deaths on higher concentrations of PM 2.5 and ozone as well as rising urbanisation and ageing population which means there is more reason to worry about the health of those exposed to air pollution. In 2010, there were 500 people per million in India who died prematurely owing to the pollution factor. By 2060, this number could reach 2,000 people per million in India alone.

Loss to economies

In 2016, a report, The cost of air pollution: Strengthening the economic case for action published by the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, suggested that India incurred a loss of $55.39 billion in terms of labour output in 2013, solely due to air pollution. If the volume of the loss has to be measured $55.39 billion, it constitutes about 0.84 per cent of India’s gross domestic product.

Here's what some of the earlier released reports suggest. 

1. Medical journal The Lancet indicated that over a million people in India die due to air pollution and some of the worst-polluted cities are in India.

2. A global study by the World Bank said that diseases associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution might have cost the country as much as 8.5 per cent of its GDP.

3. A joint study by the World Bank and the University of Washington indicated that between1990 and 2013, total welfare losses in India owing to premature deaths increased by 94 per cent.

4. A United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report in 2016 said that India had the highest share of welfare costs of about $220 billion.


With inputs from Housing News

Last Updated: Thu Mar 14 2019

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