Pollution causes almost a quarter of third world deaths

05 November 2013 - 19:07 By Sapa-dpa
A graveyard. File photo
A graveyard. File photo
Image: Thinkstock

Nearly a quarter of deaths in developing countries are linked to pollution, the environmental organisations Green Cross and Blacksmith Institute said Tuesday in Zurich.

Worldwide, the health of 200 million people in lower-income countries is at risk from toxins such as lead or mercury, more than from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, Green Cross said in a report that highlighted the 10 most polluted places in the world.

All of those locations are in developing or emerging countries, namely in Argentina, Bangladesh, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia, Ukraine and Zambia.

Two of the 10 sites are in Indonesia: The Citarum river basin, where toxic metals affect the 9 million people living in the region; and East Kalimantan province, where mercury used in gold mining pollute the environment.

Russia also hosts two hot spots: Life expectancy is significantly lower in the chemical industry city of Dzershinsk and in the mining town of Norilsk because of the man-made waste that enters the environment, the report said.

"We have to act as quickly as possible," Green Cross expert Stephan Robinson said about the global problem of pollution.

As a positive example, he highlighted the efforts of the Indian government to clean up polluted sites in recent years.

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