Giving Compass’ Take:
• Joe McCarthy explains how people in poverty suffer disproportionately by the lack of clean and healthy air and contaminated water and food caused by pollution.
• How can funders work to reduce the burden of pollution on poor communities?
• Learn about WASH tools for donors.
The burden of pollution is not shared evenly across populations. Instead, pollution is most keenly felt by the world’s most impoverished and marginalized communities.
Here are three ways people in poverty are most affected by pollution.
1. Air pollution is rampant around the world, leading to more than 8.8 million premature deaths every year. But the people most affected by air pollution live in low-income countries, according to the United Nations.
In fact, people living in sub-Saharan Africa are 23 times more likely to die from air pollution than people living in New Zealand and Australia. People living in East and South Asia are 13 times more likely to die from breathing in too much particulate matter than people living in Europe.
2. Clean drinking water is critical to living a healthy life.
Yet 1 in 9 people around the world — or 844 million people — lack access to clean, reliable drinking water. The vast majority of these people also live in extreme poverty and children are often hit the hardest by this injustice.
In fact, 6,000 children under the age of 5 die every day because of preventable waterborne diseases.
Drinking water is contaminated and rendered dangerous in a number of ways. Most often, inadequate sanitation systems cause sewage to be dumped directly into bodies of water. In Nigeria, for example, 123 million people don’t have access to a decent toilet, which causes human waste to regularly undermine drinking sources, leading to 59,500 children under the age of 5 dying from waterborne diseases every year.
3. Contaminated food still affects 600 million people each year, killing 420,000, according to the World Health Organization. The vast majority of deaths from food poisoning occur in poor nations, and children under the age of 5 account for 40% of all deaths.
Foodborne diseases often spread because of shoddy oversight and regulation. Outbreaks happen when runoff from meat production contaminates water used for crop irrigation, tropical weather allows pests to flourish, food is improperly transported and handled, chemicals leach into food supplies, and other reasons.
Read the full article about pollution and people living in poverty by Joe McCarthy at Global Citizen.
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