Today the world is facing a deadly virus called COVID-19 or Coronavirus, which has affected millions of people worldwide and exterminated thousands. Coronavirus pandemic has forced governments and world bodies to take unprecedented measures (Lock-downs, curfew, etc.) to contain and eliminate the virus and roll out funds (in trillions) to subsidized its impact on economies including up-gradation of health facilities.
This is not the first time the modern world has committed itself to save humanity from a crisis, it had many times, in the past committed to solving growing problems of the world, but abandon them after solving it partially or temporarily, to let them grow into bigger problems. The world bodies made a large number of resolutions to contain pollution (Air & Water) and with each passing day act less and less about it. Countries across the world, on the name of tackling corruption, made laws and forget to implement it or rather implemented it loosely. But the question is why we require to make laws against corruption and pollution. The reason is similar to that of the prevention of the novel coronavirus, saving the lives of millions of people and economies. Diabetes and Cancer are other two big contributors to human fatalities worldwide which can be substantially eradicated if the reforms on the health system been implemented.
According to WHO, 0.8 million (approximately) people are infected by the COVID-19 and 37K people have died to date. The governments are very much worried and they should be because with every passing day, the number of mortalities are increasing, forcing them to work on mission mode and take stringent measures to prevent loss of life. The impact of the COVID-19 is visible because it is causing death in a very short time frame, which is making people scared of it and its lethality has been the only talking point in the media. But when the impact, although more grave is spread over a large period, say 50 years, people use to take it lightly or ignore it (including media and world bodies).
Air Pollution is one such issue that has impacted each one of us. In 2016, 91% population was living in the places where WHO air quality guidelines were not met. According to WHO, Pollution cause approximately 7 millions of death annually out of which 4.2 million died due to ambient (outdoor) Pollution. Pollution caused by the wrong cooking practices such as the use of wood and kerosene caused the premature death of 4 million worldwide. Close to half of the deaths due to pneumonia among children under 5 years of age are caused by Particulate Matter (soot) inhaled from household pollution and not to forget the damage, pollution incurred on Ecosystem and wildlife is also immense.
Corruption cause 3.6 million deaths worldwide every year. Corruption in the medical system and governance has led us to the scarcity of medical facilities during the current trying times. Corruption has restricted flows of the fund to the needy which keeps them vulnerable to death.
In 2016, nearly 463 million people are suffering from diabetes and nearly 1.6 million people died every year due to diabetes. People spent the US $760 billion every year on the treatment of diabetes. Cancer is the second largest contributor to death (9.6 million) in the world after cardiac disease per year. 70 % of the cancer patients are in low and middle-income economies. Some of the causes for cancers are high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activities, tobacco and alcohol. The economic impact of death by cancer is 1.16 trillion per year.
So, if you take into account the number of deaths caused by the above-discussed reasons (Pollution, Corruption, Cancer and Diabetes) is approximately 20 million per year worldwide much more than death estimated by Coronavirus. The economic impact (US $3 trillion) of coronavirus would likely to be much lower than impact of the only pollution on the global economy.
Moreover, the effect of Coronavirus are likely to impact our lives for a year or two but the Corruption, pollution and other deadly disease discussed are impacting our life and economy for many years which make them much more dangerous. So, protect yourself from COVID-19 but don’t forget our responsibility does not end here. A joint and consistent effort, for a much longer time, is required to eliminate the sins which are making the life of the masses difficult.
Disclaimer: This data provided in the article has been collected from open media. The variations in the statistics are possible. The article represents the point of view of the writer only. Please feel free to comment and provide feedback.