A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) concludes that environmental factors like air, water, and soil pollution cause one in four deaths worldwide. The report says that 12.6 million people died in 2012 as a result of pollution, chemical exposure, climate change, ultraviolet light, and other issues. Such environmental factors led people to suffer more than 100 different types of diseases and injuries.
Low- and middle-income countries in southeast Asia are the hardest hit by environmental factors,experiencing 3.8 million deaths annually; the western Pacific region follows closely behind. In the Americas, nearly 900,000 people per year are estimated to have died due to health issues directly caused by environmental factors. Those most affected include children under the age of five, and adults between the ages of 50 and 75.
The report calls on countries worldwide to increase their use of clean technologies and cooking fuels, as well as ensure better access to safe water and sanitation.