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Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife.Environmental degradation is one of the ten threats officially cautioned by the High Level Threat Panel of the United Nations. WRI (the World Resources Institute), UNEP (the United Nations Environment Programme), UNDP (the United Nations Development Programme) and the World Bank have made public an important report on health and the environment worldwide on May 1, 1998. Environmental Change and Human Health, a special section of World Resources 1998-99 in this report describes how preventable illnesses and premature deaths are still occurring in very large numbers. If vast improvements are made in human health, millions of people will be living longer, healthier lives than ever before. In these poorest regions of the world an estimated one in five children will not live to see their fifth birthday, primarily because of environment-related diseases. Eleven million children die worldwide annually, equal to the combined populations of Norway and Switzerland, and mostly due to malaria, acute respiratory infections or diarrhoea — illnesses that are largely preventable.
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