Pollution behind 1 in 6 global deaths in 2019

Pollution behind 1 in 6 global deaths in 2019


18 May 2022 at 03:57
Pollution behind 1 in 6 global deaths in 2019

Pollution caused about 9 million people to die prematurely in 2019, according to a new global report published on Wednesday (May 18), with experts raising alarm over increasing deaths from breathing outside air and the "horrifying" toll of lead poisoning.

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Human-created waste in the air, water and soil rarely kills people immediately, but causes instead heart disease, cancer, respiratory problems, diarrhoea and other serious illnesses.

The Lancet Commission on pollution and health said the impact from pollution on global health remains "much greater than that of war, terrorism, malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, drugs and alcohol".

Pollution is an "existential threat to human health and planetary health, and jeopardises the sustainability of modern societies", it added.

In general, the review found, air pollution - accounting for a total of 6.7 million deaths globally in 2019 - was "entwined" with climate change because the main source of both problems is burning fossil fuels and biofuels.

"If we can't manage to grow in a clean and green way, we're doing something terribly wrong," said the report's lead author Richard Fuller, of the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, adding that chemical pollution also harms biodiversity - another major global threat.

"These things are terribly connected and strategies to deal with one have ripple effects all the way through," he said.