What you need to know:
- Pollution has been found to be the world’s largest environmental cause of disease and premature death
- Air pollution kills more than 18,000 people in Kenya every year
- In sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 35 per cent of death and diseases are linked to human-caused environmental factors
The poor are the most affected by the effects of environmental degradation, according to a new research.
Weather-related natural disasters disadvantage vulnerable communities, which have the least resources to respond to these threats, shows the study.
The research published last week on health and its links to climate change, says: “Human-induced negative impact on the environment results in death, diseases and injuries, impacting the quality of life, reducing productivity, and burdening the health systems.”
According to study by a Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the poor are the most affected because they depend directly on natural resources.
It established that the risk of being affected by weather-related natural disasters was almost 80 times higher in developing countries than in developed states.
Death and disability
In Kenya, for example, there have been disastrous episodes of flooding especially in low lying areas of western, eastern and northern Kenya. The most affected in these areas were peasant farmers and pastoralists. In August, 1,000 people had been displaced by Lake Turkana while in an overflowing Lake Baringo continues to wreak havoc.
Pollution has been found to be the world’s largest environmental cause of disease and premature death, while nearly 92 per cent of pollution-related deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries, shows the study.
According to the World Health Organization, air pollution kills more than 18,000 people in Kenya every year. In sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 35 per cent of death and diseases are linked to human-caused environmental factors.
“From longstanding to emerging hazards, environmental problems are a root cause of significant burden of death, disease and disability particularly in developing countries,” states Sida.
The brief cites an increase in non-communicable diseases linked to environmental degradation, and which are set to increase the demand for healthcare overtime.
According to Sida, land or soil degradation, biodiversity loss, air pollution, climate change, ecosystem degradation and water contamination directly affect human health. “A healthy environment will contribute to both improved health, poverty reduction and economic and social development,” said the brief.