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Pollution Kills As Many As Nine Million People Worldwide

More and more people are dying from pollution yearly, a new report states. As of 2015, an estimated nine million deaths were chalked up to some form of pollution – that’s one in six deaths. This includes air, water, soil, chemical, or occupational pollution.

Of all the pollution types, air pollution is the biggest contributor to fatalities, according to numbers commissioned by The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health. Air pollution killed 6.5 million people in 2015 alone, CNN reports.

The next biggest killers are water pollution, responsible for 1.8 million deaths, and occupational pollution, which resulted in 0.8 million deaths, the report adds.

The majority of deaths due to pollution – a whopping 92% — occurred among people in developing countries. One in every four deaths in nations that are seeing rapid industrialization, such as China, India, Pakistan, Kenya, Bangladesh and Madagascar could be linked to dirty soil, water, air or other sources of pollution.

Dr. Olusoji Adeyi, a commissioner and director of the health, nutrition and population global practice at the World Bank Group, said,

Pollution disproportionately impacts the poor and the vulnerable.

In all countries, regardless of income level, pollution-related diseases were more prevalent among minorities and marginalized groups.

Adeyi said, “Children face the highest risks. It is important to translate awareness into action at the local, national, and global levels.”

Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, co-leader of the commission, observed that the main problem lies in chemicals. “There are thousands of chemicals out there and we know that people are exposed to them. We just didn’t know enough about what chemicals are doing to people.”

The data for this report comes from The World Health Organization and The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, “two very credible sources,” according to Landrigan. Due to advances in technology, the information gathered via satellites and other monitoring devices is more accurate and more sophisticated compared to decades past.

Landrigan said, “For the first time, we pulled out and collected in one place all of the information on deaths caused by all forms of pollution combined — in other words, air pollution, water pollution, chemical pollution, soil pollution, occupational pollution in the workplace — and put it all together.”

The report was published in The Lancet.

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