Health and the Environment
By Awake! correspondent in Nigeria
Each year worldwide, 49 million people die. About 75 percent of these deaths are premature, the cause being related to poor environment and life-style, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO). Consider some examples:
◼ Cancer kills five million each year. Much of this, WHO reports, “is directly attributable to the massive increase in cigarette smoking in the past 30 years.”
◼ Diarrheal diseases, killing more than three million children annually, are often caused by contaminated food and water, as well as by a lack of proper sanitation.
◼ Tuberculosis, slayer of three million yearly, prospers in conditions of poverty and overcrowding, especially where there is poor sanitation.
◼ Respiratory infections, mainly pneumonia, kill three and a half million youngsters under five years of age each year. Many are city dwellers who are exposed to high levels of air pollution.
Aside from these fatalities, annually some two and a half billion—nearly half the world’s population—suffer from sicknesses that stem from insufficient or contaminated water and poor sanitation. Additionally, such current concerns as acid rain, the weakened ozone layer, and global warming are linked by WHO to the declining health of many. Overall, the WHO report noted, more than two billion persons live in life-threatening or health-threatening environments.
Dr. Hiroshi Nakajima, director general of WHO, warns: “If we do not act now, the crisis for the Earth and its inhabitants will become intolerably acute, with an environment that is no longer sustainable.”
The Bible promises that there will be a time when “no resident will say: ‘I am sick.’” (Isaiah 33:24) This will be accomplished, not by man’s efforts, but by God’s Kingdom, which will eradicate sicknesses and their cause.—Revelation 21:3, 4.
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