Pollution kills more people around the world than war, terrorism, malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, drugs and alcohol.
It’s a takeaway Report published on Tuesday Lancet Planetary Health analyzed the combined health risks of air, water, and toxic chemical pollution. 2019.. The results show that pollution causes about 9 million premature deaths each year, or 1 in 6 people worldwide. It equates that sacrifice with smoking.
“We weren’t yelling” Look at this! “From the top of the street. Richard Fuller, lead author of the report and founder and CEO of the non-profit PureEarth, which focuses on tackling pollution in low- and middle-income countries, said:
Fuller’s report is one of two this week that warned about the insidious danger of pollution. Second study, Published on MondayWe investigated the United States and calculated that eliminating all energy-related emissions could prevent the premature death of 53,000 people annually in the United States.
More than 90 percent of pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, according to Fuller’s study. The countries with the highest pollution-related deaths in 2019 were India, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and Indonesia.
Air pollution-caused by vehicles, power plants, burning crops, etc.-is the most tragic threat as it will kill more than 6.5 million people in 2019, more than any other form of pollution that year.Air pollution increases risk Heart disease, Respiratory tract infection, lung cancer, Tuberculosis, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, kidney disease, low birth weight. All of these can lead to premature death.
Changing combinations of pollution types
According to Fuller’s research, pollution-related deaths have been flat worldwide since 2015. A Previous research Pollution was also responsible for the early deaths of 9 million people in 2015, he reported. However, the main form of pollution has changed over time.
According to his new report, household air and water pollution mortality has declined since 2000, and outdoor air and toxic chemical mortality has increased by more than 66% since then.
Experts say this is partly due to the growth of the developing economy, and this process often leads to improved household hygiene while increasing the use of industrial chemicals and fossil fuels.
Richard Peltier, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who was not involved in either study, said, “This is a complex problem. Population and pollution can lead to mortality. Will be higher. “
Scientists have also seen an increase in the amount of toxic chemicals in household items such as spices, paints, children’s toys and cosmetics. In 2019, lead and other chemicals killed 1.8 million people worldwide, according to the report. It has increased from 900,000 in 2000.
Lead alone is currently killing more people than HIV, according to Fuller. He added that other forms of chemical contamination may be severely underestimated.
“We do not measure mercury, pesticides, chromium, arsenic, or asbestos,” he said. “If all exposures to different chemicals were to be properly measured, it would probably be as large as air pollution.”
How to slow down the deadly threat of pollution
Experts have stated that it is generally difficult for people to protect themselves from pollution-related health hazards, especially in developing countries.
“You can wear a face mask when it’s really polluted. For example, if a forest fire breaks out in your community, it’s not sustainable or achievable in many parts of the world,” says Peltier. ..
In smoky situations, the N95 mask provides the best protection. 2021 study..
People can also install air filters in their homes, Peltier said. But the best form of protection is probably to monitor the air quality outdoors and stay indoors when it’s bad.
“I may postpone jogging in the afternoon when I see it absent-minded,” Peltier said.
On a larger scale, experts said countries need to invest more in pollution control.
“If we can spend a dollar to solve a problem, we will spend that dollar to move the energy economy to find cleaner resources, whether it is the introduction of electric vehicles or not. [or] Converting the power plant to cleaner combustion fuel. “
The United States has already dramatically improved air quality. Between 1990 and 2020, total emissions of six common pollutants in the United States decreased by 78%. But Monday’s study emphasized that there was more work to be done.
For example, studies estimated that if the United States eliminated emissions from road vehicles, it could prevent premature deaths of about 11,700 people. Eliminating emissions from the electricity sector can prevent an additional 9,300 deaths.
Nicholas Mileu, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the lead author of the study, said: “Some other sectors, like aviation, will be more tricky.”
“Obviously, that doesn’t happen overnight,” Mailloux added. “There are decades of processes to reduce emissions on the scale we show.”
Even if the levels of pollution in the United States are further reduced, their health benefits may not be evenly perceived. According to a Mailloux study, reductions in emissions in the southeast benefit primarily to the people living in the area, while reductions in emissions in Rocky Mountain states such as New Mexico and Utah do. It has a strong spillover effect in the Midwest, Southeast, and parts of the South.
More states and territories coordinate their efforts, Mailloux said, “you get more profit everywhere.”
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