Environmental challenges, such as pollution, climate change, and natural disasters, affect everyone. However, it is the poor and developing countries that bear the brunt of these challenges. According to the World Health Organization, 23% of all global deaths are caused by environmental risks, with 94% of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries.
The effects of environmental challenges are particularly devastating for poor people, who are often more vulnerable to the health impacts of pollution and climate change. Poor people often live in areas with higher levels of pollution, which can cause respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and other health problems. The World Bank estimates that air pollution alone causes over 7 million premature deaths each year, and that 90% of these deaths occur in developing countries.
Natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, and hurricanes, also have a disproportionate impact on poor people. These disasters can destroy homes and infrastructure, leaving poor communities without access to clean water, sanitation, and healthcare.
Environmental challenges and natural disasters that result also have economic impacts, with poor people and developing countries often suffering the most. Climate change, for example, can cause crop failures and natural resource depletion, which can lead to food insecurity and economic instability. The World Bank estimates that climate change could push an additional 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030.
If you don’t live in a developing country or poor neighborhood, the effects of climate change can sometimes feel like more of an inconvenience. Make no mistake, the effects are devastating and real for many. There is still time to take meaningful action before it is too late. The longer we wait to take collective, systematic action the harder it will be. The longer we wait, the more widespread the effects will become. These challenges not only have significant health impacts on the poor and developing nations but also social and economic impacts. It is important that we work together to address these challenges and work towards a more sustainable and equitable future for everyone.
We are in this together after all.