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Poor Air Quality Kills More People than Bad Water, and 8 More Global Trends

Report identifies a global need to continue to improve environmental performance.

On Monday, Yale released the 2016 Environmental Performance Index, which ranks 180 countries based on how each protects human health its ecosystems. The report identified nine global trends:

  1. More Global Deaths Due to Poor Air than Water

    More deaths occur on a global scale due to poor air quality rather than water. To be more precise air quality killed 5.52 million in 2013 versus 1.24 million who died due to unsafe water. As nations industrialize, they invest in sanitation infrastructure; however industrialization exposes people to more dangerous airborne compounds. 
  2. >3.5 Billion People Live in Unsafe Air Quality

    More than half of the world's population, 3.5 billion people, live in nations with unsafe air quality.
  3. More People Have Access to Clean Water

    The number of people lacking access to clean water has been nearly cut in half since 2000, from 960 million to 550 million today.
  4. 34% of Global Fish Stocks Overexploited

    About 34 percent of global fish stocks are overexploited or collapsed, primarily due to mismanagement.
  5. Nations Close to Biodiversity & Habitat Targets

    Nations are now less than two percent away from reaching global targets on biodiversity and protected habitats.
  6. Tree Cover Goes Missing

    The world lost 2.52 million square kilometers of tree cover in 2014.
  7. 23% of Countries Have No Wastewater Treatment

    Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of countries don't have wastewater treatment.
  8. Only 20% of Countries Use Nitrogen Efficiently

    Only 20 percent of countries are meeting nitrogen efficiency targets. The impact here is twofold as efficient use enhances crop productivity, while excess nitrogen and nitrogen pollution hurt air and water quality, deplete the ozone, and exacerbate climate change.  
  9. About 1/3 of Countries Reducing Carbon Intensity

    Only one third of the countries scored on climate and energy are reducing their carbon intensity, which it, however, still an improvement.

Now for what you're really most interested in, Finland took the top spot for its strides towards a carbon-neutral society by 2050.

As for the bottom, Somalia ranked dead last, due to its sweeping governance problems and long, troubled legacies.

The United States came in 26th, sandwiched between Canada and the Czech Republic.

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