According to the latest studies and reports, air pollution is highly characterized as deadly while it is to be found among the 10 greatest killers by doctors nowadays. The harmful impacts that air pollution has on health are obvious in places around the world any more.
As stated by the Global Burden of Disease (GBD), sixty five per cent of deaths caused by air pollution occurred in Asia. More specifically, the remarkable number of 1.2 million deaths took place particularly in East Asia, whereas in the European Union, the Eastern Europe and Russia the deaths reached the number of 400,000. The overall deaths are 3.2 in a global level, a number that depicts an increase by 300 per cent in the year 2011.
There are a number of significant facts concerning air pollution and the negative consequences that it has on human health that can be given as follows:
- Since pollution is one of the biggest global killers by affecting 100,000 million people, it is comparable to diseases such as HIV and malaria.
- Over 1 billion people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water and as a result 5,000 die every day due to dirty drinking water.
- While children only make up 10% of the world’s population, over 40% of the global burden of disease falls on them. More than 3 million children under the age of five die annually from environmental factors.
- Over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals are killed by pollution every year.
- People who live in places with high levels of air pollutants have a 20% higher risk of death from lung cancer than people who live in less-polluted areas.
- Every year, the Mississippi River carries an estimated 1.5 million metric tons of nitrogen pollution into the Gulf of Mexico creating a “dead zone” in the Gulf each summer about the size of New Jersey.
- Approximately 46% of the lakes in America are too polluted for fishing, aquatic life, or swimming.
- Americans make up an estimated 5% of the world’s population. However, the U.S. produces an estimated 30% of the world’s waste and uses 25% of the world’s resources.
- Recycling and composting prevented 85 million tons of material away from being disposed of in 2010, up from 18 million tons in 1980.
At this very moment, the situation is getting worst due to the fact that nothing seems to change as drastically as it should. Since any restoration of all the aforementioned situations needs time and effort, we must all consider the tremendous consequences not only to our lives, but also to our children’s lives if nothing changes now. We are obliged to reverse the situation by giving more “space” to environmentally friendly ways of life in order to replace the old ones. The sooner we become more conscious and less selfish, the less the negative impacts will be on our health in the long run. The point is to imagine this: what if a health problem caused by pollution had happened to me, one member of my family or more generally, to my nearest environment?
Written by Α.Κ.
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