Over the past decades, the world has undergone dramatic changes in terms of environmental degradation, which has enormously affected climatic patterns. It has also contributed to several global health issues. Environmental pollution refers to the introduction of foreign substances into the natural environment resulting in adverse consequences (United Nations Environmental Program [UNEP], 2017). Climate change indicates an alteration in the weather patterns or in the time difference of weather in the perspective of longer-term average patterns. Environmental pollution can be air, water, noise, light, radioactive, soil, and plastic. These contaminants have adverse effects on the health and well-being of the global population. Air pollution and climate change are closely associated. Extraction and burning of fossil fuels are crucial catalysts of climate change and contribute to air pollution. The aspect and influence of environmental pollution and climate change as a global health issue, but stakeholders could be engaged using multiple approaches to facilitate the implementation of the multiple interventions.

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) was established in 1972 to resolve environmental challenges at both international and regional levels. The agency has been at the forefront in evaluating environmental situations and trends at the international, regional, and national levels. Additionally, it has established global agreements and national environmental mechanisms and strengthened organizations such as the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) in the Republic of Nigeria for wise ecological conservation. The objective of international exertions, such as the Paris Agreement, is to combat greenhouse gas emissions (United Nations, 2015). However, it was established that nations are not fully committed to this endeavor to minimize hazardous global warming. Governments started discussions on dealing with climate transformation as early as the 1990s. These discourses have contributed to establishing many significant accords, such as the Kyoto Protocol.

Description of the Problem

Environmental pollution is a considerable threat to global health. Like the effects of climate change, pollution destabilizes the Earth’s critical systems and endangers all lives (Whitmee et al., 2015). The transformation contributes to biodiversity loss, desertification, and the exhaustion of the global freshwater source. For instance, children are highly susceptible to industrial emissions and poisonous chemicals in human populations. Despite this threat, environmental pollution has been ignored in the worldwide growth and health programs agenda and the planning approaches of many nations. For instance, the international assistance budgets of the European Commission, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and bilateral development institutions provide insufficient financial support to help reduce pollution from industrial, automotive, and chemical resources and to the prevention of diseases resulting from these cases (Greenberg et al., 2016). Therefore, pollution prevention has not been prioritized by governments and their agencies.

The pervasive nature of environmental pollution and climate change can be attributed to human activities. Industrialization, urbanization, forest fires, and inefficient disposal mechanisms have deepened ecological health risks and contamination, particularly in developing nations (Ferronato & Torretta, 2019). Air contamination, exposure to Lead metal and other toxic chemicals, dangerous wastes, and improper e-waste disposal have contributed to the emergence of fatal diseases, the creation of harmful living conditions, and the destruction of ecosystems. Pollution has stunted economic development and exacerbated poverty and disparity in urban and rural areas. Consequently, poor individuals who cannot protect themselves from the adverse effects of pollution and climate change suffer the most. Therefore, toxic waste has become the primary environmental cause of illnesses and premature death. More than 9 million premature deaths result from pollution. Thus, progressive action in resolving ecological pollution and climate change is needed to fix the problem.

Environmental pollution has adversely affected the progress of humanity. Activities such as mining and exploration are currently promoting ecological decay. Ecological pollution and climate change have broader effects on global health. Due to its extent, the focus theme is diverse and encompasses every element of pollution source, transportation, deposition, acid raid, atmospheric pollution, metals, and aquatic pollution, including marine, groundwater, wastewater, pesticides, soil pollution, and sewerage (Ferronato & Torretta, 2019). It illustrates the extent to which environmental challenges have concerned humankind since time past. Most ecological pollution is in water, air, and land. These forms of pollution cause a decline in environmental quality leading to the loss of vegetation, biological diversity, and excessive amounts of harmful chemicals in the ambient atmosphere, contributing to environmental accidents and threats to life support systems (Manisalidis et al., 2020). The magnitude of this problem has forced international organizations such as UNEP to formulate policies and guidelines for dealing with the issue. Therefore, pollution is a significant contributor to global health issues.

Human activities have adverse implications on the environment by polluting water, air, and soil. For this reason, environmental pollution has become a global public health challenge. The problem affects people and nations in different degrees and magnitude. Environmental pollution-induced climate change impacts ecosystems leading to food safety issues (Manisalidis et al., 2020). Both air and water pollution majorly affect people living in urban areas. However, the problem is even more aggravated in developing nations like Nigeria and Brazil. It is attributed to overpopulation and uncontrolled urbanization alongside industrialization. Highly populated countries such as China, Nigeria, and India grapple with critical environmental challenges. It has been the case with Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo (Manisalidis et al., 2020). Nigeria and India were the countries with the highest annual premature pollution-related deaths globally in 2019 (Global Alliance on Health and Population & The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, 2019). Therefore, pollution contributes to poor air quality, particularly in countries with social inequalities and inadequate information on sustainable administration of the environment like Nigeria.

Developing countries and their people are disproportionately affected by pollution. For instance, premature deaths from heart diseases, cancer, and lower respiratory infections result from air pollution, more common in emerging nations. UNEP acknowledges that indoor and ambient air pollution contributed to approximately seven million fatalities worldwide in 2016 (UNEP, 2019). Most of these deaths are usually children who are highly susceptible to poor air quality conditions. Environmental inequalities usually place undue health risks on countries and individuals already vulnerable to those perils. Low socioeconomic status nations face inequalities when it comes to matters of environmental pollution mitigation. The majority do not have the highest carbon emissions into the atmosphere but are forced to shoulder the repercussions of climate change caused by such environmental pollutions (Clark et al., 2014). Therefore, environmental pollution is a global health issue, disproportionately affecting developing nations and cities.

Social Determinants Influencing Environmental Pollution

Many factors affect environmental performance concurrently. However, cultural fractionalization, political freedom, financial growth, and organizational quality significantly influence health issues resulting from environmental pollution. The successful development of organizations is among the best policy recommendations for environmental pollution control. It is significant because poor institutional quality is linked to bad governance and enforcement of contracts, less secure property rights, and ineffective environmental strategies to lessen CO2 emissions. Efficient systems and regulations tend to compensate for the undesired effects of climatic changes and lower CO2 production. According to Wang et al. (2020), having weak organizations and poor governance implies that effective execution of environmental strategies is diminished. As such, organizational qualities are an excellent option for environmental pollutions issues. A strong correlation exists between environmental quality and organizations (Egbetokun et al., 2016). When individuals can access information freely, there is an increased probability of creating awareness about environmental issues, promoting legislation. For instance, Ali et al. (2019) indicated that improving the quality of an institution by 1% would reduce CO2 emissions by 0.313% for 47 nations applying a dynamic GMM mechanism. Therefore, efficient systems and regulations can help tackle ecological pollution.

Cultural fractionalization contributes to positive environmental health. The increased migration and globalization have emphasized this aspect. A more diverse society has more innovations to combat environmental degradation. Wang et al. (2020) state that exposure to cultural diversity contributes to active participation in civic institutions and community services. One could argue that the populations most affected by environmental pollution have the poorest cultural fractionalization. Additionally, cultural beliefs have been found to influence ecological management. Mundorf et al. (2017) found out that how women aligned themselves with various values and beliefs was statistically correlated with their preferred behavior associated with managing air pollution. Therefore, diverse cultural ideas in places like Nigeria influence environmental pollution.

The influence of politics on environmental performance cannot be overlooked. Wang et al. (2020) investigated the impact of political freedom on CO2 emissions. According to their findings, a high level of autonomy could efficiently lower CO2 emissions in the end. It implies that democracy is an adequate mechanism to safeguard a country against environmental degradation. Therefore, poor political freedoms exist in political systems in countries most affected by environmental pollution have, which does not grant the dissemination of environmental information.

Strategies and Gaps

The United Nations and the global community have played a key role in initiating the current international discussion concerning global warming. Initially, environmental health issues were not part of the core objectives of the UN. However, climate change led to the convening of the first U.N. Conference to address ecological issues in 1949 (United Nations, n.d.). The aim was to determine how these issues could be mitigated to promote economic and social growth and not conservation. However, these issues received serious attention from the U.N. in 1968. In 1972, the participants of the Stockholm conference adopted a declaration that set out standards for the preservation and improvement of the human environment. Besides, the U.N. formulated an action plan containing suggestions for global environmental action. The program required world economies to consider issues contributing to climate change and assess climatic implications’ probability and extent. The U.N. Scientific Conference recommended the formation of stations to regulate long-term tendencies in the atmospheric constituents and properties, contributing to weather elements and climatic changes. Therefore, the recognition of climate change globally has led to multiple actions to reverse the damage.

Over the years, most strategies adopted in climate change mitigation encompass efforts to reduce or prevent greenhouse gas emissions (GGE). As an outcome, new technologies and renewable energy have been widely used. These strategies can be historically based on social, economic, and political concerns. First, environmental pollution legislation and the upgrading of administrative organizations took center stage. Consequently, the primary Law for Environmental Pollution Control was executed to offer a good foundation for environmental pollution policy and other guidelines and enterprises (Turgut, 2008). The implementation of environmental, waste, and emission standards has ensured adherence to environmental standards; thus, the process of reducing emissions at minimal costs has been realized (U.S Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], 2014). In addition, the strategies to mitigate environmental pollution have relied upon the firm stance of regional and local authorities, offering the incentive for the growth of pollution control and prosecuting environmental pollution offenders.

In some instances, the UNEP and HOMEF offer financial assistance to individuals or groups to prevent environmental damage. Monetary aid is based on the rationale that investing in equipment and technology intended to lower pollution output can pose a substantial financial burden in adverse economic situations, without revenue returns to an individual or a group. For this reason, governments should lower taxes and ensure that such equipment can be acquired at low-interest loans. The historical strategies also encompassed pollution-related health damage compensation. It has been common in countries such as Japan. The Law regarding Pollution-related Health Damage Compensation and other plans, implemented in 1973, holds that payments should be made to cover medical bills, injuries, bereavement, child allowance, and funeral-associated costs (Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency of Japan [ERCA], n.d.). Financial aid to individuals or organizations can help prevent environmental degradation.

Despite efforts to eradicate the adverse effects of environmental pollution, several gaps still exist. For instance, according to the 2020 UNEP Emissions Gap Report, global heat is on the rise, notwithstanding a dip in 2020 carbon dioxide emissions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments’ failure to invest in climate action as part of epidemic regaining and solidifying emerging net-zero obligations with supported pledges is the cause. Other areas that have not received the attention needed include the levels of biodiversity, endemism, and centers of plant diversity, and irreplaceability. Approximations are required to show how these variables differ across and within potential natural vegetation (Breugel et al., 2015). Overall, current efforts to eradicate the adverse effects of environmental pollution are inadequate.


Environmental pollution and climate change are serious issues today. The impact of pollution and climate change can lead to devastating effects on an entire global population. It has been established that nations most affected by these issues are highly populated. Still, some governments and people are disproportionately impacted by environmental pollution and climate change. The social determinants contributing to the spread of environmental pollution are cultural fractionalization.