The pollution is responsible for a quarter of deaths and disease in the world

La pollution responsable d’un quart des morts et maladies dans le monde

Photo: iStock

The report estimates that air pollution causes 6 to 7 million premature deaths each year.

A quarter of the premature deaths and diseases worldwide are linked to air pollution and damage to the environment caused by the human being, has warned the UN Wednesday, in a report on the state of the planet.

The emissions responsible for air pollution, chemicals in drinking water contaminant and the accelerated destruction of ecosystems necessary for the survival of billions of people cause a kind of global epidemic, which also hampers the economy, according to the text.

This report on the global environment, on which have worked for 250 scientists from 70 countries for six years, also points to a growing gap between rich and poor countries : over-consumption, pollution and food waste in the North to precipitate famine, poverty and diseases in the South.

And while greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, climate change, such as droughts or storms, may add to the burden of billions of people.

In this domain, the Paris Agreement of 2015, aims to limit warming to +2 °C, or even +1.5 °C compared to the preindustrial era.

But the health impacts of pollution, deforestation, and a food chain industrialized are less well-known, and there is no international agreement on the environment equivalent to that of Paris on the climate.

The report of the Global Environment (GEO), published on Wednesday, which uses hundreds of data sources to calculate the impact of the environment on a hundred diseases, compiles a series of health emergencies related to pollution of all kinds.

Of environmental conditions “poor” are responsible for ” approximately 25 % of deaths and diseases worldwide “, according to the text, which speaks about 9 million deaths related to pollution in environment in 2015.

Lack of access to clean water, 1.4 million people die each year from preventable diseases such as diarrhea or parasites associated with contaminated waters.

The chemicals discharged into the sea cause of the negative health effects of ” potentially over multiple generations “, and $ 3.2 billion of people live on lands degraded by intensive agriculture or deforestation.

The report also estimates that air pollution causes 6 to 7 million premature deaths each year.

Regarding the use of unbridled of antibiotics in food production, it may lead to the birth of bacteria super-resistant to it which could become the leading cause of premature deaths by the middle of the century.

9 million dead

“Urgent actions and on an unprecedented scale are needed to arrest and reverse the situation,” says the summary to the attention of decision-makers who accompany the report.

Without a reorganization of the global economy towards a more sustainable production, the concept of growth could become meaningless in the face of death and treatment costs, argue the authors.

“The central message is that if you have a planet in good health, it supports not only global growth, but also the lives of the poor, who depend on clean air and clean water “, tells the AFP Joyeeta Gupta, co-chair of the GEO.

“Conversely, a system in poor health cause enormous damage to human lives “.

The report notes, however, that the situation is not catastrophic, calling on them to lower CO₂ emissions and the use of pesticides.

Food waste could also be reduced, so that the world throws in the trash a third of the food produced (56 % in the richest countries).

“Everyone says that by 2050 we will have to feed 10 billion people, but this does not mean that we have to double production,” insists Joyeeta Gupta, arguing for a decrease in livestock.

But this ” would result in a change in the ways of life “, recognizes it.

The publication of this report during the general Assembly of the united Nations Program for environment (UNEP) in Nairobi should contribute to the debate on the question of the responsibility of the damage to the Earth.

According to sources close to the negotiations, some rich country, the United States, threatening not to “welcome” the report, a bad sign in the hope of a possible future agreement on the reduction of waste, over-consumption and pollution.

But small or large, the country will have to adapt to the reality of their environment, points out Gupta. “If you look at the fresh water, it is more or less [a volume] fixed “, she notes, for example. “You have to finish up by sharing. It is a speech that a lot of developed countries do not like “.