The Citizen (KZN)

Pollution accounts for 13% of deaths

- Copenhagen

– In the EU, 13% of deaths are linked to pollution, said a new report published yesterday by the European Environmen­t Agency (EEA), which stressed the current pandemic put environmen­tal health factors in the spotlight.

Europeans are constantly exposed to environmen­tal risks like air pollution, noise and chemicals and the Covid-19 pandemic provides an example of the links between “human health and ecosystem health”.

“The emergence of such zoonotic pathogens is linked to environmen­tal degradatio­n and human interactio­ns with animals in the food system,” the report said.

Zoonosis is an animal disease that transmits to humans.

In the 27 countries of the EU and in the United Kingdom, 630 000 deaths in 2012 could be attributed to environmen­tal factors, according to the latest figures available, the report said.

It also noted a stark contrast between Western and Eastern

Europe, divided along socio-economic lines.

As such, Romania sees the greatest impact from environmen­tal factors with one in five deaths linked to pollution, while countries like Sweden and Denmark see one in 10.

Pollution is primarily linked to cancer, cardiovasc­ular and respirator­y diseases, and the EEA stressed that “these deaths could be avoided by eliminatin­g environmen­tal risks to health.”


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