Global pollution is controllable and avoidable through political leadership, high-level commitments and local action.
That’s according to a new report launched today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which says more needs to be done by governments, business and citizens to reduce the negative impacts of the problem, especially on the poor and vulnerable.
The UN suggests a number of global actions, including strengthening environmental governance at all levels, investing in making production and consumption more sustainable and prioritising the reduction of waste.
It also adds improved resource efficiency and lifestyle changes should be promoted from the top-down.
The report claims 19 million premature deaths currently happen each year because of the way societies use natural resources and impact the environment to support demand for energy and products.
UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim said: “Pollution is a universal challenge but the good news is that we already know what we need to do to prevent and reduce it.
“Now the responsibility is on governments, businesses, cities and local authorities, civil society and individuals around the world to commit to act to beat pollution in all its forms.”