Pollution causes 16 per cent of all deaths around the globe, according to a Lancet-commissioned study that is the first to analyze together the impact of air, water and soil pollution.
A new research authored by more than 40 international health and environmental experts, examined how pollution is linked to disease and death. Researchers estimated that pollution was behind nine million premature deaths across the world in 2015.
Scientists say pollution has a “severe and underreported” impact on our health, contributing in a major way to disease across the globe. According to Time, the research found that air pollution was linked to 6.5 million deaths in 2015, while water pollution was behind 1.8 million deaths. Workplace pollution was linked to nearly one million deaths, Time reported. Time also points out that “pollution” isn’t likely the official cause of death in many of these cases, but is a contributing factor leading to those deaths — for example, heart disease and cancer are pollution-linked diseases, and those were responsible for three times the number of deaths from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
Where you live also contributes to how much pollution can impact your health, Time reported. Researchers found that 92% of pollution-related deaths occur in low to middle income countries. Poor people are disproportionately affected by pollution-related disease, researchers found. As many as one in four deaths can be linked to pollution in growing countries like China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Madagascar and Kenya, Time reported. India had the most pollution-related deaths in 2015, according to Time, with 2.5 million, and China clocked the second most pollution-related deaths at 1.8 million. These numbers, researchers noted, may not even reflect the pollution-linked deaths across the world.
Researchers hope the revelations will lead to cutting down on pollution becoming a priority in both policy and practice across the world.
“I hope that the people who are looking to set agendas for development are paying some attention,” report leader Richard Fuller told Time. “I hope they have a wake-up call.”