17,000 dead each year from environment
13 June 2007, BRUSSELS – About 17,000 people die in Belgium each year because of environmental factors. This has emerged from the first worldwide report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the human toll of environmental damage.
13 June 2007
BRUSSELS – About 17,000 people die in Belgium each year because of environmental factors. This has emerged from the first worldwide report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the human toll of environmental damage.
Air pollution alone claims 2,000 lives in Belgium each year.
For the first time the WHO compared the impact of the environment on health in countries on all continents. The organisation used data from 2004. The comparison highlights how wide the gap is between rich and poor countries.
The WHO used the number of healthy years of life lost per 1,000 inhabitants because of environmental impact each year as a unit of comparison. Iceland showed the fewest healthy years lost: just 14. A country like Sierra Leone however showed a grimmer picture: 316 healthy years of life lost per 1,000 inhabitants each year.
Belgium scored relatively high, with a figure of just 19 healthy years of life lost. Belgium's neighbours however all scored better.
The situation appears even more distressing when the absolute figures are considered: every year the environment claims 17,000 lives in Belgium, 14 percent of the total number of deaths. 2,000 of these deaths are due to air pollution alone.
The WHO stresses that many of these deaths due to environmental factors can easily be prevented. In 23 countries more than 10 percent of these environment-related deaths are due to just two factors: the lack of clean water, and indoor air pollution caused by the use of solid fuels like wood for cooking.
[Copyright Expatica News 2007]
Subject: Belgian news