Pollution-related deaths exceed 9m per year

20 Oct 2017   Air Quality

More than 9m people are killed annually by pollution, equivalent to one in six of all deaths across the world, according to a new study. A two-year project carried out by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, sponsored by the Lancet journal, concluded that air pollution was the biggest contributor, accounting for 6.5m premature deaths, while water pollution causes 1.8m deaths. A further 0.8m died from pollution in the workplace. Ninety-two per cent of pollution-related deaths occur in low and middle income countries, from a wide range of diseases. In some industrialising countries a quarter of deaths are linked to pollution. The largest totals were in India (2.5m deaths) and China (1.8m). “Despite its far-reaching effects on health, the economy and the environment, pollution has been neglected in the international assistance and global health agendas, and some control strategies have been deeply underfunded,” said Philip Landrigan, a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, co-chair of the inquiry. “Our goal is to raise global awareness of the importance of pollution and mobilise the political will needed to tackle it, by providing the most in-depth estimates of pollution and health available.” In poorer countries, pollution-related diseases reduce gross domestic product by as much as 2 per cent per year and account for 7 per cent of health spending. In high-income countries they cut GDP by 0.5 per cent and account for 1.7 per cent of health spending.

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