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Aug 04, 2021

Building an environment for health

Building an environment for health It is estimated that 19.71 years of life are lost due to the poor environment.

By Anuja Venkatachalam · Aug 04, 2021

“World Environment Day” celebrated annually on June 5th is set to mark the beginning of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Degradation - a decade-long effort to restore urban areas, forests, oceans, seas and farmlands from environmental degradation.

The environment is increasingly becoming integral to public health with mortality and morbidity being driven by environmental causes. The Global Burden of Disease study conducted in 2019 estimates a staggering 19.71 years of life lost due to environmental causes and occupational hazards.

24% of all deaths in 2016 were attributed to an unhealthy environment, and 28% of deaths among children below the age of 5 can still be prevented with access to clean air and water.

Air pollution and poor sanitation are the main environmental risks for mortality. In 2019, 11.8% of deaths were attributed to Air Pollution. The World Health Organization estimates that ambient air pollution kills 4.2 million people every year, household air pollution another 3.8 million people.

Data shows that low-income countries are more likely to have poor environmental conditions, fostering mortality and disease from environmental causes. 

Mortality from poor environmental conditions decreases as the socio-demographic index increases. Countries with a high socio-demographic index recorded a mortality risk of 4.16%. Lesser developed countries recorded over 5 times this rate, with close to 26% of deaths attributed to air pollution and poor sanitation.

The statistics are astounding and call for action to support low-income countries to address environmental degradation in cost-effective ways.

This World Environment Day, let us pledge to build an environment that is conducive to health and well-being.


Originally published on Health Analytics Asia on June 5, 2021.

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