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Pollution killed 9 million people worldwide in 2019 alone

Pollution accounted for one in six deaths three years ago, a figure unchanged from the previous analysis in 2015.


May 17, 2022

Stock image of smoke and steam emitted from industrial plants

Ian McKinnel / Alamy

pollution According to the analysis, 9 million people died worldwide and 1 in 6 people died in 2019.

Rich fuller At the Swiss Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, his colleagues first assessed the impact of pollution on premature death in 2015 and found that it also killed 9 million people.

To clarify how pollution-related mortality changed, the team repeated the analysis using data from an ongoing global disease burden study.

“The problem with pollution is that no one actually dies directly from pollution,” says Fuller. “They die because pollution gives them illness and it kills them.”

The total number of deaths from pollution has not changed since 2015, but the number of deaths from households is Air pollution Specifically, for example, when heating wood indoors, many countries have switched to cleaner fuels, down from 2.9 million in 2015 to 2.3 million in 2019.

However, the number of deaths from outdoor air pollution has increased from 4.2 million to 4.5 million. This is due to the growing number of cars and factories, says Fuller. Burning fossil fuels releases particulate matter (PM2.5) with a maximum diameter of 2.5 micrometers. This can go deep into our body, Related to heart disease And some cancers.

Lead pollution is also on the rise worldwide, for unknown reasons. In 2015, researchers estimated that lead caused the deaths of 500,000 people. This is currently thought to be at least 900,000.

Overall, more than 90% of pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, according to the team. “Most of the pollution is due to the rapid industrialization of these countries,” says Fuller.

The latest analysis is based on pre-covid-19 pandemic data. In the UK, the blockage has temporarily reduced the number of vehicles on the road, alleviating the symptoms of people with symptoms such as asthma. The impact of the pandemic on future pollution analysis is unknown, Fuller says. “I know air pollution has decreased during the pandemic, but now it’s recovering again,” he says.

Fuller hopes the results will lead to better pollution monitoring and awareness. “Pollution is one of the three major global problems of our time,” he says. “It’s climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.”

“The number of premature deaths worldwide from exposure to pollution does not surprise me,” he says. Eloise Male At University College London. “The biggest concern is that no measures have been taken to address the issue.”

Journal reference: Lancet Planetary Health, DOI: 10.1016 / S2542-5196 (22) 00990-0

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Pollution killed 9 million people worldwide in 2019 alone

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