UN report warns of millions of early deaths by 2050

Nairobi, Mar 13 (IANS) | Publish Date: 3/13/2019 12:07:11 PM IST

A landmark UN report published on Wednesday warned the world to drastically scale up environmental protections, or cities and regions in Asia, the Middle East and Africa could see millions of premature deaths by mid-century.

The most comprehensive and rigorous assessment on the state of the environment completed in the last five years warned damage to the planet is so dire that people’s health will be increasingly threatened unless urgent action is taken.
Produced by 250 scientists and experts from more than 70 countries, the report -- Sixth Global Environmental Outlook -- is special because it combines information from all environmental issues as well as links up with health consequences of environmental problems.
It warns that pollutants in the freshwater systems will see anti-microbial resistance become a major cause of death by 2050 and endocrine disruptors impact male and female fertility, as well as child neurodevelopment.
But the report highlights the fact that the world has the science, technology and finance it needs to move towards a more sustainable development pathway, although sufficient support is still missing from the public, business and political leaders who are clinging to outdated production and development models.
The report has been released while environmental ministers and delegates from 170 countries are here to participate in the world’s highest-level environmental forum, the Fourth UN Environment Assembly.
Negotiations at the Assembly are expected to tackle critical issues such as stopping food waste, promoting the spread of electric mobility, and tackling the crisis of plastic pollution in oceans, among many other pressing challenges.
“Innovation is a huge part of the progress we’ve made so far on environmental challenges. It will play a vital role in tackling all manner of pollution as well,” UN Environment acting Executive Director Joyce Msuya told IANS.
“If we don’t think beyond our traditional approaches to environmental problems, we will only be treading water. That’s why it’s so encouraging to see innovation coming from all corners, especially developing countries like India,” she said.

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