The UN Says that Water Pollution is Deadlier Than War

by B. Sharper

Gazette Numerical Wizard Bee Sharper Indexes the Numbers that Harper’s Misses

Editor’s note: The facts reported here a few years old, but the concepts they teach us are as true today as they were when the UN report was issued.

Tons of sewage and waste from industry and agriculture that are dumped into global waterways each year –2,000,000.

Children that are killed worldwide each year by the resulting contamination — 1,800,000.

Children under five that die each minute from water pollution–3.

Rank of water pollution among all means of violence, including war, as a killer of humans — #1.

Percentage of the world’s hospitals beds that are occupied by victims of water contamination worldwide — >50%.

Percentage of wastewater in underdeveloped countries that is dumped directly without treatment into lakes, rivers, and oceans — 90%.

Estimated area of marine ecosystems that are being turned to de-oxygenated “dead zones” in seas and oceans by dumping — 245,000 km2.

Increase in nitrous oxide and methane emissions which affect our climate expected because of wastewater dumping between 1990 and 2020 — 25%.

Source of facts is a 2014 report of UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme).