The World Bank, in a new report, has disclosed that Nigeria, India, and the Democratic Republic of Congo top the list of countries with the highest poverty and pollution exposure.

In the report, titled, ‘Detox Development: Repurposing Environmentally Harmful Subsidies’, it was stated that trillions of dollars are wasted on subsidies for agriculture, fishing and fossil fuels that could be used to help address climate change.

According to the report, there are about 716 million poor people in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The report read in part, “Low- and middle-income countries account for 80 per cent of people exposed to unsafe levels of PM. Moreover, 716 million poor people (living on under US$1.90 per day) live in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.”

It added that about half of this population is in India, Nigeria and Congo.

The report added, “The distribution of poor people exposed to unsafe or hazardous levels of pollution is highly skewed: almost half (48.6 per cent) are located in just three countries. India, with a population of more than 202 million, has the highest absolute number of extreme poor exposed to unsafe levels of particulate matter, corresponding to 14.7 per cent of India’s overall population.

“Nigeria is a distant second, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo. Overall, the top 10 countries account for 67.8 per cent of the total incidence of all of the extreme poor who are exposed to unsafe concentrations of PM globally.”

In a statement announcing the report, the Senior Managing Director of the World Bank, Axel van Trotsenburg, said, “People say that there isn’t money for climate but there is – it’s just in the wrong places.

“If we could repurpose the trillions of dollars being spent on wasteful subsidies and put these to better, greener uses, we could together address many of the planet’s most pressing challenges.”

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