A QUARTER of all premature deaths and diseases worldwide are due to manmade pollution and environmental damage, the United Nations (聯合國) said 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 (全球環境展望) 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.
Lacking access to clean drinking supplies, 1.4 million people die each year from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and parasites linked to pathogenriddled water and poor sanitation.
Chemicals pumped into the seas cause “potentially multi-generational” adverse health effects, and land degradation through mega-farming and deforestation occurs in areas of Earth home to 3.2 billion people.
The report says air pollution causes 6-7 million early deaths annually.
“Urgent action at an unprecedented scale is necessary to arrest and reverse this situation,” the report told policymakers.
(This article is published on Junior Standard on 21 March 2019)
Global Environment Outlook
Environmental protection in Hong Kong: the facts