According to a new UNICEF report, the wealthiest countries in the world, including the Netherlands, fail to provide children with a healthy living environment. According to the United Nations researchers, Holland scores particularly poorly in terms of exposure to pesticides and noise pollution, such as from road traffic and airplanes.
The Netherlands also scores below average regarding electronic waste, said UNICEF. This concerns defective and obsolete electrical appliances that are thrown away. Electronic waste is “particularly harmful” because it contains hazardous substances like mercury, cadmium, and lead.
The Netherlands came in 12th place for ensuring a healthy living environment for children in the Netherlands. When the researchers looked at the impact on the living environment of children in other places in the world, the Netherlands came in 27th place.
UNICEF investigated the living environment of children in 39 countries, looking at the extent to which kids are exposed to toxic air, pesticides, moisture, and lead and how much access they have to light, green areas, and safe roads.
The aid organization said that over 20 million children in the surveyed countries have elevated levels of lead in their blood. “Lead is especially a risk for young children. Many children also breathe toxic air both indoors and outdoors, resulting in a shorter life expectancy,” UNICEF said.
If the entire world were to consume natural resources at the rate that the surveyed wealthy countries are, it would take three planet Earths to cope with the consumption level, the organization said.
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