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Environment in Latin America – statistics & facts

Diverse ecosystems, significant geophysical events, and the growing effects of climate change form a complex set of challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean. The consequences of fuel emissions impact quality of life in the everyday, with high numbers of deaths attributable to air pollution exposure, and likewise contribute to natural disasters. Elevating temperatures raise sea level around the globe, affecting coastal regions and islands especially, and also spur devastating events such as wildfires, which are more and more frequent in South America.

Household pollution and poverty

High levels of household air pollution are not a stand-alone risk factor for public health, but often result from underlying and critical issues such as economic scarcity and lack of access to basic resources. Household air pollution can be directly caused by lack of ventilation, as in Mexico, where nearly 15 million people live without a chimney in households where wood and coal are used for cooking. While Mexico ranked highly for exposure to household air pollution from fossil fuels with around 15 percent of inhabitants affected in 2017, other countries in the region report even more severe rates of exposure: in Honduras and Guatemala, nearly half the population, and in Haiti, over 80 percent.

Impact of natural disasters in the Caribbean

Bordering the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, the countries and territories located in the Caribbean Basin are particularly vulnerable to tropical storms, floods, and hurricanes as well as seismic activity such as earthquakes. Island nations are specially susceptible to large-scale devastation, exacerbated by climate change and expected to increase in severity. As communities face the destruction of their homes and economic crisis in the wake of natural disasters, large-scale population exodus is on the rise. For instance, following Hurricane Maria, approximately 14 percent of the total population emigrated from Puerto Rico between 2017 and 2019. As of 2018, Hurricane Maria was the costliest natural disaster in the Caribbean since the turn of the century, just ahead of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

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In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 32 most important statistics relating to "Environment in Latin America".

Environment in Latin America

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