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Rich countries create dangerous living conditions for children around the world, says UNICEF

We must reduce the production of waste, air and water pollution, urges UNICEF: rich countries are accused of endangering children around the world. According to a report by UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Center published on Tuesday 24 May, rich countries are creating dangerous living conditions for children around the world. The Center analyzed 39 countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union (EU) according to different criteria: pesticides, home humidity, lead, access to light, waste…

While Spain, Ireland and Portugal are good performers, none of the countries surveyed provide healthy environments for children, according to the report. Australia, Belgium, Canada or the United States do not guarantee it to children living on their soil, while the less wealthy countries, in Latin America and Europe, have a much less pronounced impact on the general state of the planet, he says. “Not only do most of the rich countries fail to provide their own children with a healthy living environment, but worse, they contribute to the destruction of that of other children, elsewhere in the world”, denounces in a press release Gunilla Olsson, director of the Innocenti Center.

High blood lead levels, mold, toxic air…

In the 39 countries studied, more than 20 million children have high blood lead levels, the report said. While Finland, Iceland and Norway are in the lead for providing a healthy environment for their own youth, they are conversely in last place in terms of their impact on the planet in terms of emission rates, electronic waste volume and consumption level.

In Iceland, Latvia, Portugal and the United Kingdom, one child in five is exposed to dampness and mold at home, while in Cyprus, Hungary and Turkey this situation affects more than one child out of four. Many children breathe toxic air both indoors and outdoors, especially in Mexico, unlike Finland and Japan, the report also notes. In Belgium, Israel, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland, more than one in twelve children are exposed to high levels of pesticide-related pollution, the report also notes.


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