Scientists are constantly doing their best to spread the word regarding the dangers of pollution and the damage it causes to the environment. Unfortunately, the issue remains one that many overlook as none too important to their own personal life and safety. Earlier Friday, however, new research was revealed that will hopefully lead to a proper realization of just how concerning the matter is. Scientists have released the numbers on exactly how many people die as a result of pollution each year, and the figures are staggering.
According to TIME, a whopping 9 million people died in 2015 due to complications from pollution. This amounts to 16 percent of all deaths worldwide, with one in six deaths said to be related to the cause. Researchers borrowed data from the Global Burden of Disease, which combines the research found regarding the effects of air pollution on its own, as well as contaminated air (fireplaces, gases, etc). In addition, water pollution is also brought into the equation, as things like unhygienic sanitation can cause contamination and make people extremely ill, a case commonly seen in poorer countries such as Ethiopia and Cambodia. Although nowhere near as prominent a problem as the others, workplace pollution is also becoming concerning, as those employees exposed to such carcinogens or toxins as asbestos and coal are also subject to health issues.
As reported by CNN, the results of this new study reveal that these 9 million deaths from pollution mark three times that of AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis put together. It also claims more lives than smoking, and far outnumbers those killed as casualties of war. Air pollution is the largest contributor to premature death, tallying up 6.5 million individuals whereas water pollution accounted for 1.8 million, with workplace contamination rounding up the last million. The majority of these deaths occurred in Asia and Africa, with the study’s lead authors finding that an astounding 92 percent of fatalities take place in countries with low to middle income levels. One out of four deaths in developing countries such as China, Madagascar, Kenya, and Bangladesh, say researchers, can be tied to pollution.
Countries with a higher fiscal budget have been taking steps to minimize the problem, with one of the latest being England. Earlier in October, Bloomberg revealed that U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has put forth a plan to boost low-pollution energy and put a price cap on utilities. The government also intends to release a “clean power plan,” as parliament has recognized that air contamination in the country has been hitting an all-time high over the past few years.
[Featured Image by Rafiq Maqbool/AP Images]