Worst Polluters Get Dirtier


United Nations: Every Day 5,500 Children Die From Diseases Caused By Polluted Food And Water

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Every day 5,500 children die as a result of consuming polluted water and food, with those under 5 years old the most vulnerable, according to a U.N. study released Thursday.

One billion people, or one-sixth of the world's population, do not have access to clean drinking water, said the study prepared by three U.N. agencies.

More appalling, 2.4 billion people lack access to even a simple latrine, said the report, ``Children in the New Millennium.''

``Children are healthier (today). There is more access to clean water, but these disturbing figures show we have barely started to address the problem,'' said Carol Bellamy, executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund.

After respiratory infections, the greatest killer of children is diarrhea, carrying off 2 million a year, the vast majority in the poorest countries, said the study by UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Program.

Other examples of food and water-borne diseases include cholera, typhoid, polio and roundworm.

``Children in developing countries are some 13 times more likely to die before they reach their fifth birthday than their counterparts in developed countries,'' it said.

One-third of global diseases are caused by eating tainted food, drinking unclean water and breathing polluted air. Forty percent of those getting such diseases are children under 5, or 600 million children, the study said.

``Children in developing countries are some 13 times likely to die before they reach their fifth birthday than their counterparts in developed countries,'' it said.

The 140-page report, focusing on how a degraded environment affects children.

Millions of children work in agriculture, puting them at the risk of pesticide poisoning, the report said.

``How sanitary can conditions be when 90 children are sharing one toilet, or when half of the toilets are not functioning,'' the study asked.

Source: http://www.AP.org





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