John Vidal, environment editor, The Guardian,
Thursday October 6, 2005
Climate change and pollution are killing millions, says study
· Poor sanitation to blame, says World Bank report
· Economic growth stalled by environmental factors
Almost a fifth of all ill health in poor countries and millions of deaths can be attributed to environmental factors, including climate change and pollution, according to a report from the World Bank.
Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene as well as indoor and outdoor air pollution are all said to be killing people and preventing economic development. In addition, says the bank, increasing soil pollution, pesticides, hazardous waste and chemicals in food are significantly affecting health and economies.
More controversially, the report, released yesterday in New York, links cancers to environmental conditions and says global warming has a major impact on health. "For almost all forms of cancer, the risk of contracting this disease can be reduced if physical environments are safe for human habitation and food items are safe for consumption," says the report.