Global pollution accounts for approximately 9 million premature deaths every year, according to a report by The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health.
The comprehensive study found that pollution is linked to 1-in-6 deaths globally — accounting for three times more than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined, The Guardian reports.
Developing countries are harder impacted by the fatal effects of pollution, as pollution-caused deaths occur predominantly in economically developing nations. In some cases, like India, Chad, and Madagascar, pollution is attributed to 25 percent of all deaths.
According to The Guardian:
Rich nations still have work to do to tackle pollution: the US and Japan are in the top 10 for deaths from “modern” forms of pollution, ie fossil fuel-related air pollution and chemical pollution. But the scientists said that the big improvements that have been made in developed nations in recent decades show that beating pollution is a winnable battle if there is the political will.
“Pollution is one of the great existential challenges of the [human-dominated] Anthropocene era,” concluded the authors of the Commission on Pollution and Health, published in the Lancet on Friday. “Pollution endangers the stability of the Earth’s support systems and threatens the continuing survival of human societies.”
It is estimated that pollution costs $4.6 trillion a year — equating to more than 6 percent of the global GDP. Dr. Philip Landrigan, a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, U.S., and co-leader of the commission, said, "“We always hear ‘we can’t afford to clean up pollution’ – I say we can’t afford not to clean it up.”
Read more here.