People who live in poverty are those exposed to the worst environmental and health risks. Overall, somewhere between 25% and 33% of the global burden of disease can be attributed to environmental factors. This proportion is larger in conditions of poverty, where more environmental hazards are present in the nearby living and working environment, and people have less capacity to protect themselves against exposure and effects of harmful or unpleasant pollutants.
This paper has been commissioned by Sida as a way to bring environment and health issues up for discussion with a broader audience. The paper aims to summarize and synthesize the complex issues that relate to environment and human health, and to identify the most important health-environment connections from a poverty perspective.