Pollution is linked to an estimated 9 million deaths each year worldwide — equivalent to 1 in 6 (16%) of all deaths, according to a major new report in The Lancet. Most of these deaths were due to non-communicable diseases caused by pollution such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The report finds that pollution as a result of outdoor and indoor air pollution, water and soil contamination, and chemical pollutants is one of the largest risk factors for premature death. With almost all of these deaths (92%) occurring in low- and middle-income countries, and pollution disproportionately affecting the poor and marginalised in every country worldwide, the authors of the report aim to end neglect of the issue across the political spectrum, and mobilise the will, resources, and the leadership needed to confront it.
The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health is a two-year project that has involved more than 40 international health and environmental authors.