Pollution Is Killing Us Faster, Says UN Report
If pollution is killing us humans, we have only ourselves to blame, data show ─ one in four premature deaths worldwide are due to man-made pollution and environmental damage, says a recent report by the United Nations, titled the Global Environment Outlook.
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, the report says.
The report says air pollution causes six-seven million early deaths annually.
The report also depicts a growing difference between rich and poor countries as rampant over-consumption, pollution and food waste in the developed world leads to hunger, poverty and disease in second and third world countries. Lacking access to clean drinking supplies, 1.4 million people die each year from preventable diseases such as diarrhea and parasites linked to pathogen-riddled water and poor sanitation.
The Indian context
Last year, the Lancet Planetary Health survey revealed that at least 12.5 per cent of deaths in Indian in 2017 could be attributed to severe air pollution. Of the 1.2 million who dies from air pollution-related causes, 51.4 per cent were younger than 70 years old.
According to the survey, no Indian state achieves pollution levels at or below the WHO’s limits. In November, the Washington Post published a report which said people in India had their life expectancy cut short up to 12 years due to air pollution.
The policy change
After much dilly-dallying, the Indian government launched the National Clean Air Progamme in January, which chalks national-level strategy to prevent, control and abatement of air pollution and improve the air quality by implementing the action plan. From promoting cleaner fuel to boost to electric vehicles, there have been a lot of policy changes of which the impact is yet to be seen. Other moves such as controlling greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide use can significantly improve air and water quality.
While the Clean India mission has improved the sanitary conditions in rural India, which is the most affected because of lack of proper toilets and garbage disposal system, the exact outcome will be known only at a later stage.