See what happens, based in the findings of scientists, experts and the United Nations specialists:

Pollution, Pollution, Pollution Everywhere

Human-made pollution today is pervasive and persistent. While the world has achieved significant economic growth over the past few decades, it has been accompanied by large amounts of pollution, with significant impacts on human health and ecosystems and the ways, in which some of the major Earth system processes, such as the climate, are functioning.

Though some forms of pollution have been reduced as technologies and management strategies have advanced, approximately 19 million premature deaths are estimated to occur annually as a result of the way societies use natural resources and impact the environment to support production and consumption.

If consumption and production patterns continue as they are, the linear economic model of “take-make-dispose” will seriously burden an already-polluted planet, affecting current and future generations, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) asserts.

Pollution is not a new phenomenon—that’s true. It is largely controllable and often avoidable, but considerably neglected.

In fact, pollution can -and does- have negative impacts and disproportionate burdens on women and men, and particularly on the poor and the vulnerable such as the elderly, children and the disabled, affecting their rights to health, water, food, life, housing and development.

Many toxic dumpsites are located in poor areas, leading to environmental injustice. Pollution has significant economic costs from the point of view of health, productivity losses, health-care costs and ecosystem damages.

These costs, already substantial, are expected to rise over time, not only because of the direct effect of pollution on health, but also the impact of weakened livelihoods, as well as the longer-term impact on ecosystem services, that in turn affect local communities, societies and economies.


Impacts of chemicals | Photo reproduced  from Wall Street International

Towards a Pollution-Free Planet?

In its recent Towards a Pollution-Free Planet background report, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) also warns that pollution poses a direct threat to respecting, protecting and promoting human rights and gender equality, international human rights obligations related to health, life, food and water, safeguarding a healthy and sustainable environment for present and future generations, and achieving the 2030 Agenda’s pledge to “Leave No One Behind”.

“Responses by governments, business and citizens to pollution exist, but they remain limited in scope and scale,” UNEP alerts.

Key Facts

The UN Towards a Pollution-Free Planet background report provides some key, shocking scientific findings:

· 6.5 million people die annually as a result of poor air quality including 4.3 million due to household air pollution,

· Lower respiratory infections: 52 million years lost or lived with disability annually due to household or ambient air pollution, including second-hand tobacco smoke,

· Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases: 32 million years life lost or lived each year with disability because of household air pollution and workers’ exposure,

· Ground level ozone pollution is estimated to reduce staple crop yields up to 26 per cent by 2030,

· 58 per cent of diarrhoeal disease due to lack of access to clean water and sanitation and a major source of child mortality,

· 57 million years of life lost or lived with disability annually due to poor water, sanitation, hygiene and agricultural practices,

· Over 80 per cent of the world’s wastewater is released to the environment without treatment,

· Open waste dumps and burning impacts lives, health and livelihoods and affect soil chemistry and nutrition,

· Excessive exposure and inappropriate use of pesticides affects health of all — men, women and children,

· Stockpiles of obsolete chemicals pose a threat to people’s health and the environment,

· 3.5 billion people depend on oceans as a source of food yet oceans are used as waste and waste water dumps,

· Close to 500 “dead zones”, regions that have too little oxygen to support marine organisms, including commercial species,

· 4.8 to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste enters the ocean every year from inadequate waste management,

· Over 100,000 die annually from exposure to asbestos,

· Lead in paint affects children’s intellectual ability,

· Children poisoned by mercury and lead develop problems in their nervous and digestive systems and kidney damage,

· Many impacts of chemicals such as endocrine disruptors and developmental neuro-toxicants and long-term exposure to pesticides on human health and well-being and biodiversity and ecosystems are still to be fully assessed,

· 50 biggest active dump sites affect the lives of 64 million people, including their health and loss of lives and property when collapses occur,

· 2 billion people are without access to solid waste management and 3 billion lack access to controlled waste disposal facilities.



Pollution effects | Photo reproduced  from Wall Street International

Not Enough?

Need to know more? Here you are: the World Health Organization has estimated that nearly a quarter of all deaths worldwide, amounting to 12.6 million people in 2012, are due to environmental causes, with at least 8.2 million attributable to non-communicable environmental causes, and more than three quarters in just three regions.

And, of course low- and middle-income countries –where the overwhelming majority of the seven billion world inhabitants live–bear the brunt of pollution-related illnesses, with a disproportionate impact on children.

Last but not least: pollution is not a new phenomenon. Nor is action to counter it.

So, what are the so-called “decision-makers” –let alone all of us– are waiting for? … Unless there is a Planet B, something that is not at reach… so far!

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