Environmental degradation resulted to 1 in 8 deaths in Europe

Environmental degradation factors like air and noise pollution, heatwaves, and exposure to dangerous chemicals due to climate change contribute to 13% of all the deaths in the European Union.

As per a report produced by the European Environment Agency on Tuesday, September 8, 13% (one in every eight) of deaths in Europe are linked to poor quality environments.

With climate change and the glaciers melting, zoonotic animals are continually exposed to the human food chain. This is the reason why environmental health and human health are interconnected.

Coronavirus as a consequence

A report said that the coronavirus is an excellent example of such conditions. It has highlighted the precarious situation that can happen when diseases from animals can be passed on to the human chain due to increasing environmental degradation and meat production.

According to another report, EU health chief Stella Kyriakides said in a statement that COVID-19 had been yet another wake-up call, making us acutely aware of the relationship between our ecosystems and our health.

Tremendous death toll

In 2012, the European Union’s 27 countries, along with Britain, witnessed an alarming death toll of 630,000 persons due to environmental factors, EEA’s report said.

The report also stated that the environmental risks to health in the form of deadly diseases like cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory-related diseases could be eliminated only by controlling the environmental hazards.

“These deaths are preventable and can be significantly reduced through efforts to improve environmental quality,” it said.

Socio-economic divide between east and west

Also, the report mentioned the relationship between the socio-economic divide and environmental degradation between the eastern European countries and the western European countries. The most significant impact of the environmental factors is seen in Romania, where there is one in five deaths directly linked to pollution. While countries like Sweden and Denmark are doing better comparatively at one in every ten deaths.

“Poorer people are disproportionately exposed to air pollution and extreme weather, including heatwaves and extreme cold. This is linked to where they live, work and go to school, often in socially deprived urban neighborhoods close to heavy traffic,” the report said.

Good news

The report also had some good news for the people living in Europe. The water quality for bathing had improved drastically, with 85% purity in most regions in the EU. The groundwater is also faring well, with 74% of cases having the right chemical proportions.

According to the EEA, to improve the environment and human health, it is essential to favor “green and blue spaces” as these help to “cool cities during heatwaves, alleviate flood waters, reduce noise pollution and support urban biodiversity.”

Image courtesy of sarayut_sy/Shutterstock

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