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Expert from the U.N. says pollution causes more deaths than COVID.
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Expert from the U.N. says pollution causes more deaths than COVID.

GENEVA – February 15, 2015 (Reuters). Pollution by governments and companies is causing more deaths than COVID-19 globally, according to a U.N. report. The Tuesday report called for “immediate action and ambitious measures” to ban some toxic chemicals.

The report stated that pollution from pesticides and plastics is leading to widespread violations of human rights and at least 9,000,000 premature deaths each year. However, the issue is often overlooked.

According to Worldometer data aggregator, the coronavirus epidemic has led to close to 5.9million deaths.

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U.N. Special Rapporteur David Boyd concluded that “current approaches to managing the risk posed by polluting substances and toxic substances are clearly failing”

The document, which will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council next month, has been posted on the Council’s website on Tuesday.

It calls for a ban on perfluoroalkyl (man-made substances used to make household products like nonstick cookware) that have been linked with cancer. They are also known as “forever chemicals” since they don’t easily break down.

It also recommends that polluted areas be cleaned up and that, in extreme cases of pollution, affected communities – many of which are poor, marginalised, and indigenous – be relocated from “sacrifice zone” (also known as “sacrifice areas”).

The term, which was originally used for nuclear test zones, has been expanded to include any heavily contaminated location or place made uninhabitable because of climate change.

Michelle Bachelet, U.N. rights chief has called environmental threats the largest global rights challenge. There are increasing numbers of climate and environmental justice cases that invoke human rights with success. Read more

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Reporting by Emma Farge; editing and editing by John Stonestreet

Our Standards The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

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