Recent research done by the Lancet Commission on pollution and health states that pollution contributed to 9 million premature deaths worldwide in 2015. This marks pollution as the largest environmental factor for premature death and disease.
- It is estimated that pollution costs the global economy up to $4.6 trillion annually. In comparison, COVID-19 has killed 6.7 million people globally since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Different types of pollution and their mortality rates were broken down in the research. Air pollution was the highest cause of death, with 6.7 million premature deaths, followed by water pollution at 1.4 million, lead at 900,000, and workplace occupational hazards at 870,000.
Decrease in deaths: Even though African countries took up most of the top 10 nations with the highest pollution deaths, the continent has seen significant improvements. The study states that Africa has seen a decrease in pollution related deaths between 2000 and 2019.
- Africa has some of the highest numbers of pollution-related deaths. When adjusted for population, Chad is the country with the most pollution deaths, followed by the Central African Republic, Niger and Somalia. South Africa, Lesotho and Burkina Faso are also part of the 10 countries with the highest amount of deaths related to pollution, according to Reuters.
Increase in deaths: Asia has seen an increase in pollution-related deaths since 2000, the study reported.
How does the U.S. rank? The United States doesn’t have the worst pollution, but is the only industrialized country in the top 10 countries for pollution deaths, ranking at No. 7 when the data is not adjusted for population, reported The Associated Press.
- When adjusted for population, the U.S. is 31st from the bottom, with 43.6 deaths per 100,000 people, per The Associated Press.