Pollution deaths, The Lancet alarm: “We’re coming back”

90% of pollution deaths are concentrated in low- and middle-income countries

(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – One in six deaths worldwide is caused by pollution. Pollution deaths are at least 9 million every year. More than road fatalities, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. In addition to the impact of human lives, the economic impact is also very high: something like 4,600 billion dollars, that is, 9 million every minute.

This is stated in the latest update of the global review on pollution deaths prepared by the Lancet commission. The previous version dates back to 2017 and also set the number of premature deaths at 9 million per year. Unfortunately, no improvement. Only in some areas a partial improvement, but immediately compensated by worsening of other items.

The global review notes that pollution deaths typically associated with extreme poverty are falling (but low- and middle-income countries still account for 90% of total deaths). We talk about typologies like air pollution deaths within homes and water contamination. However, premature deaths related to air pollution in general and the impact of toxic chemicals (such as lead) have increased. only since 2015, in fact, these types have grown by 7%, while the increase since 2000 is even 66%.

The key areas on which it is necessary to focus are air pollution, lead poisoning and chemical pollution”, warn the authors. “Air pollution causes over 6.5 million deaths per year globally, and this number is increasing. Lead and other chemicals are responsible for 1.8 million deaths from pollution per year globally, a figure probably underestimated“.

Of the latter, the deaths due only to lead are 900 thousand. Although some progress has been made, for the authors of the review “we are going back”. The main problem, they say, is that most countries in recent years have done nothing to combat pollution. “The triad of pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss are the main global environmental problems of our time,” the authors write. “These problems are closely linked and the solution of each of them will benefit others”.

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