Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Brunei among nations with lowest death rate from pollution

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam, Qatar and Iceland have the lowest pollution death rates ranging from 15 to 23, according to a new study in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health published on Tuesday.

The pre-pandemic study is based on calculations derived from the Global Burden of Disease database and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle.

The report said pollution remains responsible for approximately nine million deaths per year, corresponding to one in six deaths worldwide.

Reductions have occurred in the number of deaths attributable to the types of pollution associated with extreme poverty.

However, these reductions in deaths from household air pollution and water pollution are offset by increased deaths attributable to ambient air pollution and toxic chemical pollution (ie lead).

Deaths from these modern pollution risk factors, which are the unintended consequence of industrialisation and urbanisation, have risen by seven per cent since 2015 and by over 66 per cent since 2000. More than 90 per cent of pollution-related deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries.

Air pollution causes over 6.5 million deaths each year globally, with increasing number each year. Lead and other chemicals are responsible for 1.8 million deaths each year globally.

When deaths are put on a per population rate, Chad and the Central African Republic rank the highest with rates about 300 pollution deaths per 100,000, more than half of them due to tainted water.

Despite ongoing efforts by United Nations (UN) agencies, committed groups, committed individuals, and some national governments (mostly in high-income countries), little real progress against pollution can be identified overall, particularly in the low-income and middle-income countries, where pollution is most severe.

Urgent attention is needed to control pollution and prevent pollution-related disease, with an emphasis on air pollution and lead poisoning, and a stronger focus on hazardous chemical pollution.

Pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss are closely linked. Successful control of these conjoined threats requires a globally supported, formal science–policy interface to inform intervention, influence research, and guide funding. Pollution has typically been viewed as a local issue to be addressed through subnational and national regulation or, occasionally, using regional policy in higher-income countries.

Now, however, it is increasingly clear that pollution is a planetary threat, and that its drivers, its dispersion, and its effects on health transcend local boundaries and demand a global response. Global action on all major modern pollutants is needed. Global efforts can synergise with other global environmental policy programmes, especially as a large-scale, rapid transition away from all fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy is an effective strategy for preventing pollution while also slowing down climate change, and thus achieves a double benefit for planetary health.