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World Environment Day'97

Students Take Action

Did You Know..
Did You Know..

Fresh water is a scarce resource. Only 0.008 per cent of the planet's water is available for human consumption.

More than 70 per cent of the world's population is without clean water. An estimated 25,000 people die each day as a result of polluted water. An estimated 21 million barrels of oil run into the oceans every year. In part because of poisoned waterways, one-fifth of the world's freshwater fishes is either endangered or extinct. By the year 2000, annual fish supplies may fall short of demand by about 10-15 million tons. More than 40 per cent of fish stocks are already over-exploited or depleted worldwide.

Tropical forests cover 23 per cent of the Earth's land surface, but they are disappearing at a rate of 4.6 million hectares a year. Rain forests once covered at least 14 per cent of the Earth's land surface. Now only six per cent remains. Brazil contains one-third and Indonesia and Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) each have 10 per cent of what's left. Rain forests have over 30,000 unique plants; more than 70 per cent of them have cancer-fighting properties.

Human population on earth increases by more than 250,000 people a day, or more than 90 million a year. The growth of human population is greater than increases in food production around the world. More than 45 per cent of the world's population now live in cities.

A city of one million everyday uses approximately 625,000 metric tons of water, 2000 metric tons of food and 9,500 metric tons of fuel. The same city generates, on the same day, an average 500,000 metric tons of waste water, 2000 metric tons of solid waste and 950 metric tons of air pollution. The rich countries consume an estimated 75 per cent of all energy used, 79 per cent of all commercial fuels, 85 per cent of all wood products, and 72 per cent of all steel products.

(For more information, please contact: Public Inquiries Unit, GA-57, United Nations, NY 10017. E-mail: inquiries@un.org. Fax (212) 963-0071)


United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Sustainable Development

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