Nearly one in four deaths are linked to unhealthy environments and are avoidable, a new World Health Organisation study – the first major assessment of environmental risk since 2006 – has shown.
It suggests environmental risks now contribute to more than 100 of the world’s most dangerous diseases, injuries, and kills 12.6 million people a year – nearly one in four or 23% of all deaths.
Of these, two-thirds or 8.2m deaths are from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as strokes, cancers and heart illnesses, a significant rise in 10 years, say the authors.
While the number of deaths from infectious diseases, including diarrhoea and malaria, have fallen since 2006, those from NCDs linked to indoor and outdoor air pollution, climate change and exposure to synthetic chemicals have increased, the WHO report says.
Isn’t that good news? We’re not there yet but we’re on the way to conquering infectious disease.