One is eight deaths linked to pollution; says EU
Published: 07:45 PM, 9 September 2020
European Union’s (EU) environment agency European Economic Area (EEA) said that one in every eight deaths can be linked to pollution.
Factors such as air and noise pollution, as well as poor water quality and exposure to chemicals, contributed to 13 percent of all deaths, according to the report by the Copenhagen-based agency, noting that “poorer communities and vulnerable people were the hardest hit by pollution.”
“Strong action must be needed to protect the most vulnerable,” the agency said.
According to the EEA’s report released on Tuesday, a total of 630,000 premature deaths were attributable to environmental factors in 2020. Air pollution contributed to 400,000 annual deaths, with noise pollution being an attributable factor in 12,000. The remaining deaths were linked to extreme weather such as heatwaves.
The report said that people are exposed to multiple risks at any time, including air, water and noise pollution, and chemicals, impact on health.
The latest EEA report also explored which communities were affected. “Poorer people are disproportionately exposed to air pollution and extreme weather, including heatwaves and extreme cold,” it said.
In the report, the EEA said that the “green and blue” spaces should be prioritized during heat waves, alleviate flood waters, reduce noise pollution and support urban biodiversity.
It also said the traffic should be reduced, and fossil fuel subsidies should be removed in an effort to address the problem.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says air pollution causes the death of millions of people globally each year and accounts for a third of fatalities from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease.
The European Commission has given a response to the report, saying the reduction of road traffic, specifically diesel-powered vehicles, would be beneficial. They suggested introducing to encourage greater use of electric cars.