Pollution kills 9 million people a year, with Africa the worst affected, the survey said

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Rising outdoor air pollution and toxic lead poisoning have led to an estimated 9 million deaths worldwide each year since 2015 due to environmental pollution – little progress has been made elsewhere, a team of scientists reported Tuesday.

With urbanization, industrial process air pollution has increased pollution-related deaths by 7% from 2015 to 2019, according to a data analysis by scientists. Full text on global mortality and pollution levels.

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“We’re sitting in a stew pot and burning slowly,” said Richard Fuller, co-author of the study and head of the worldwide nonprofit Pure Earth. But unlike climate change, malaria or HIV, “we didn’t focus too much (on environmental pollution).”

An earlier version of the work published in 2017 also estimated that pollution would cost about মিল 9 million per year – or one in six deaths worldwide – and up to 6 4.6 trillion per year in the global economy. This equates pollution with smoking in terms of global mortality. Covid-19, by comparison, has killed an estimated 7.6 million people worldwide since the epidemic began.

For their latest study, published in the online journal Lancet Planetary Health, the authors analyzed 2019 data from the Global Burden of Disease, an ongoing study by the University of Washington that assesses overall pollution exposure and calculates mortality risk.

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The new analysis highlights the causes of pollution more specifically – separating traditional pollutants such as indoor fumes or sewage from more modern pollutants such as industrial air pollution and toxic chemicals. Here are some key takeaways:

Water and indoor air

Deaths from traditional pollutants worldwide are declining. But these remain a major problem in Africa and other developing countries. According to population-adjusted data, polluted water and soil and dirty inland air make Chad, the Central African Republic and Niger the three most polluted countries in the world.

Improvements to state programs to reduce indoor air pollution and improve sanitation have helped reduce the number of deaths in some places. In Ethiopia and Nigeria, these efforts reduced the number of related deaths by two-thirds between 2000 and 2019. Meanwhile, in 2016, the Indian government began proposing to replace wood-burning stoves with gas stove connections.

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Modern polluters

Rachel Kupka, co-author and executive director of the New York-based Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, says exposure to modern pollutants such as heavy metals, agrochemicals and fossil fuel emissions has increased “skyrocketing” by 66% since 2000. .

In terms of outdoor air pollution, some major capital cities have seen some success, including Bangkok, China and Mexico City, the authors say. But pollution levels continue to rise in small towns.

Maximum pollution-related deaths

The study proposed a list of the 10 countries most affected by pollution-related deaths based on their findings on population-adjusted mortality rates.

1. Chad; 2. Central African Republic; 3. Niger; 4. Solomon Islands; 5. Somalia; 6. South Africa; 7. North Korea; 8. Lesotho; 9. Bulgaria; 10. Burkina Faso (Reporting by Gloria Dickey; Editing by Katie Diegel and Lisa Schumacher)



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