Pollution caused one in six deaths worldwide in 2019, study finds


Decline in pollution deaths linked to extreme poverty offset by deaths linked to industrial pollution

Decline in pollution deaths linked to extreme poverty offset by deaths linked to industrial pollution

Pollution caused nearly nine million deaths in 2019, or about one in six deaths worldwide. This number was effectively unchanged since the last such analysis in 2015 by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, according to a report published in The Planetary Health of the Lancet Wednesday.

Although the number of deaths from sources of pollution associated with extreme poverty (such as indoor air pollution and water pollution) has decreased, these reductions are offset by an increase in deaths from poverty. industrial pollution (such as ambient air pollution and chemical pollution).

A report of The Lancet in 2019 said harmful air killed 1.67 million Indians in 2019, or 18% of all deaths.

“The health impacts of pollution remain enormous, and low- and middle-income countries bear the brunt of this burden. Despite its enormous health, social and economic impacts, pollution prevention is largely neglected on the international development agenda,” lead author Richard Fuller said in a statement. “Attention and funding have increased only marginally since 2015, despite a well-documented increase in public concern about pollution and its health effects.”

“Pollution remains the greatest existential threat to human and planetary health and jeopardizes the sustainability of modern societies. Pollution prevention can also slow climate change – achieving a double benefit for planetary health – and our report calls for a massive and rapid transition from all fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy,” the co-author adds. , Professor Philip Landrigan, Director, Global Public Health Program and Global Pollution Observatory at Boston College.

The 2017 Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health uses data from the 2015 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, which found that pollution was responsible for around nine million deaths, or 16% of all deaths in the world. The new report provides updated estimates of the health effects of pollution based on the most recent 2019 GBD data and methodological updates available, as well as an assessment of trends since 2000.

Of the nine million deaths attributable to pollution in 2019, air pollution (both household and ambient) remains responsible for the highest number of deaths with 6.67 million worldwide. Water pollution is responsible for 1.36 million premature deaths. Lead contributed to 900,000 premature deaths, followed by toxic occupational hazards with 870,000 deaths.

Excess deaths from pollution resulted in economic losses totaling $4.6 trillion in 2019, or 6.2% of global economic output. The study also notes the profound inequality of pollution, with 92% of pollution-related deaths and the greatest burden of economic loss from pollution occurring in low- and middle-income countries.

The authors of the new study conclude with eight recommendations that build on those of the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health. These include calls for the creation of an independent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)-style scientific/policy panel on pollution, as well as increased funding for the fight against pollution from governments, independent and philanthropic donors, and improved pollution monitoring and data collection.


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