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U.N. report: Pollution is controllable and avoidable

By
Sara Shayanian
Erik Solheim, head of the U.N. Environmental Program, spoke at the Minamata Convention where Towards a pollution-free planet' was first launched. Photo by Martial Trezzini/EPA
Erik Solheim, head of the U.N. Environmental Program, spoke at the Minamata Convention where Towards a pollution-free planet' was first launched. Photo by Martial Trezzini/EPA

Sept. 29 (UPI) -- The United Nations Environment Program released a report titled Towards a pollution-free planet on Friday, saying pollution is controllable and avoidable.

Although pollution is dangerous and negatively impacts human health, the report noted that the effects can be mediated through the combined efforts of political leadership, high-level commitments, and local action.

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"Pollution is a universal challenge [but] the good news is that we already know what we need to do to prevent and reduce it," U.N. Environmental Program director Erik Solheim said.

Some recent forms of technology and management have reduced pollution, but the report found that about 19 million people worldwide die prematurely each year from pollution's impact on the environment.

The report suggests five ways to combat pollution, including strengthening environmental governance, sustainable consumption and production, investment in environmentally friendly products, and collaborations for investment and innovation.

It further proposes 50 ways to address pollution, including recycling wastewater and moving towards electric mobility.

"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," Solheim said.

Towards a pollution-free planet comes before the United Nations Environment Assembly meets this December in Nairobi, Kenya.

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