Death in the air

Environmental pollution could be responsible for 40 per cent of all deaths world-wide

Published: Sunday 15 November 1998

If a team of US researchers at Cornell University, New York are to be believed. 40 per cent of all deaths world-wide is due to environmental pollution. Global warming could worsen this scenario, they say. David Pimentel and 11 graduate students investigated the relationship. Between increasing pollution levels and' population trends, climate change and emerging diseases.

They concluded that air pollutant, adversely affect the health of four to five billion people every year. Global warming would exacerbate the problem, creating millions of environmental refugees" who would be forced to leave urban 'hot spots'.

"Humans are stressed and disease prevalence is worsened, by widespread malnutrition and the unprecedented increase in air, water and soil pollutants," wrote Pimentel in the October issue of the journal, Bioscience.

Using World Health Organisation figures, the researchers calculated that the impact of air pollution will get worse as the number of cars on the roads is rising at three times the rate of the world's population. Smoke from the door cooking fires kills four million children a year, and lack of sanitary conditions contributes to another four millions deaths, mostly among infants in developing countries, the team found.

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