News Light HD

Stay informed, stay ahead with


Study shows insect die-off is responsible for 500,000 premature deaths each year

Around three-quarters of the world’s plants depend on the work of animal pollinators. This also applies to many crops. The economic importance of pollinators can therefore hardly be overestimated. At the same time, however, their populations have been declining massively worldwide for several years and decades. So it seems obvious that the global production of vegetables, fruit, and nuts will not remain unaffected by this development. Now researchers at Harvard University have taken a closer look at the effects on human health. The result is quite surprising: According to this, around 500,000 premature deaths worldwide are already due to the reduced pollinator populations in the animal kingdom. This corresponds to about one percent of all global deaths.

The study used an extremely broad database

Specifically, the researchers came to the conclusion that the lack of pollinators led to a three to five percent drop in yields of healthy vegetables, fresh fruit, and nutritious nuts. To arrive at these results, the researchers evaluated data from hundreds of farmers around the world. In addition, general knowledge about the health consequences of certain types of nutrition flowed into the prognosis. The same applies to the interaction of various factors within the ecosystem and their effects on the yield of agricultural land. The global flow of goods in the food trade was also evaluated with the help of a computer model. The result of the study was ultimately created on this very broad basis. Health consequences of an unbalanced diet include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer. For the first time, these diseases have now been linked directly to the decline in pollinators.

Man can defuse the problem

However, the effects are not felt to the same extent all over the world. People in rich countries like Germany are still able to buy healthy food. These are only a little more expensive due to crop failures. However, the situation is different in large emerging and developing countries such as Russia, Brazil, and India. According to the study, most of premature deaths of this type are recorded there. However, the researchers also give a little hope on one point. Because the displacement of pollinators is due to human behavior. Consequently, it is also in man’s hands to reverse this development. Some of the necessary measures are quite easy to implement. This applies, for example, to corresponding protective strips at the edge of agricultural areas. Other things – such as the ban on certain pesticides – are much more difficult to achieve.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *