Pollution deadlier than war and smoking

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According to a study done by The Lancet, pollution caused nine million deaths in 2015, more than both war or smoking. This marks the first attempt to put together the statistics of all forms of pollution when looking at a global death rate. This study is a massive growth in our understanding of pollution’s effects on the global population.

At Brock University, there is a push to become greener. On October 28 there will be a Market Fair being held by Brock in association with Niagara Farm Project in order to educate about green options in local cities and how we can live a more sustainable life.

The event’s purpose will not be to lecture people about what mistakes they may be making, but to instead educate on how each student at Brock, and even the school itself, can do their share in order to reduce ecological impact.

The estimated financial cost of pollution-related deaths, sickness and welfare costs is massive by any means. Costing up to an estimated $4.6 trillion annually, which accounts for 6.2 per cent of the global economy. If this information is accurate, this is a massive warning sign for the direction the world is currently headed. Because this trend of pollution related deaths is growing. The supposed cause for such a massive number without actually identifying how much pollution is costing the world is due to the scattered nature of these circumstances.

The two continents primarily highlighted by this study were Asia and Africa, with India being the biggest contributor to toxic emissions. However, the issue was not only being felt in the East. Canada was highlighted in the study due to the amount of pollution-based deaths First Nations people were suffering. The numbers are significant enough that there are only six countries in the world below Canada for pollution-based deaths by percentage of population. These were primarily comprised of not having access to clean drinking water, and proximity to oil mining operations. The oil mining operations especially were so egregious that the report’s authors named Alberta’s oil sands and Ontario’s chemical valley, home to 40 per cent of the country’s chemical manufacturing, as Canadian pollution hotspots.

While the cost of fighting pollution and toxic emissions is high, Environmental Protection Agency research suggests that the U.S. has gained some $30 in benefits for every dollar spent on controlling air pollution since 1970, when Congress enacted the Clean Air Act. If this holds true for other countries, especially for those with either troubling economics or massive population at risk due to deaths from pollution, this could be world-altering news. This news is being felt around the world as well. The World Bank declared in April that reducing pollution, in all forms, would now be a global priority. Accordingly, the United Nations will host its first conference on the topic of pollution this December.

It can be difficult to believe that the United Nations will only just now be having its first talk fully centered on the topic of pollution. However if a conversation doesn’t start it can be impossible to determine the impact of these things.

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