Study links pollution to millions of deaths
NEW DELHI - The Associated Press
Environmental pollution - from filthy air to contaminated water - is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
One out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015 - about 9 million - could be attributed to disease from toxic exposure, according to a major study released on Oct. 19 in the Lancet medical journal. The financial cost from pollution-related death, sickness and welfare is equally massive, the report says, costing some $4.6 trillion in annual losses - or about 6.2 percent of the global economy.
The report marks the first attempt to pull together data on disease and death caused by all forms of pollution combined.
Experts say the 9 million premature deaths the study found was just a partial estimate, and the number of people killed by pollution is undoubtedly higher and will be quantified once more research is done and new methods of assessing harmful impacts are developed.
Areas like Sub-Saharan Africa have yet to even set up air pollution monitoring systems. Soil pollution has received scant attention.
Asia and Africa are the regions putting the most people at risk, the study found, while India tops the list of individual countries. One out of every four premature deaths in India in 2015, or some 2.5 million, was attributed to pollution.