World’s richest countries destroying environment for children globally: report

UNICEF - The News Today - TNT

NEW YORK: The world’s richest countries are contributing to the destruction of the global environment, risking the present and future of children all over the world.

This was stated in a latest ‘Report Card’ published by UNICEF‘s Office of Research, Innocenti.


Countries like Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, and Norway, that are creating healthy environments within their borders have the opposite attitude towards children worldwide.

“Some of the wealthiest countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, and the United States, have a severe and widespread impact on global environments,” the report reads.

The “Innocenti Report Card 17: Places and Spaces” compares how 39 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and European Union (EU) fare in providing healthy environments for children.

More than 20 million children from these countries have increased levels of lead, which is one of the most toxic substances, in their blood.

Finland, Iceland and Norway rank in the top third for providing a healthy environment for their children yet rank in the bottom third for the world at large, with high rates of emissions, e-waste and consumption.

“In some cases we are seeing countries providing relatively healthy environments for children at home while being among the top contributors to pollutants that are destroying children’s environments abroad,” reported Gunilla Olsson, Director of UNICEF Office of Research, Innocenti.

Mexico has the highest number of years of healthy life lost due to air pollution at 3.7 years per thousand children, while Finland and Japan have the lowest at 0.2 years, the report showed.

Apart from sharing the findings, UNICEF also urges to take some steps including “involving children”, who are “the main stakeholders of the future”.

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