Pollution Killed 25 Lakh People In India In 2015, Says Lancet Study

Coal fired power station Niederaussem

And in rapidly industrialising countries such as India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Madagascar, pollution is linked to as many as a quarter of all fatalities, reports Reuters.

Air pollution caused by noxious gases and tiny soot specks was the biggest global pollutant killer causing 6.5 million deaths in 2015. The study said nearly all pollution-related deaths - around 92% - are in poor or middle-income countries. Over 70 percent of these diseases are non-communicable, like cardiac and respiratory conditions.

Water pollution from poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water killed 1.8 million as a result of gastrointestinal diseases and parasitic infections. Of the total pollution-linked early deaths in India, 1.81 million were caused by air pollution, 0.64 million due to water pollution, 0.17 million due to occupational exposure, and 95,000 deaths were linked to lead pollution, the study said.

But soil pollution from heavy metals or chemicals are not adequately researched and were not included in the study.

The report was prepared by the journal's own Commission on Pollution and Health, a two-year collaboration between 40 health and environmental scientists.

The research, conducted by about 40 worldwide scientists, used data from the Global Burden of Disease study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, adds Reuters.

"What people don't realize is that pollution does damage to economies". In high-income countries they cut GDP by 0.5% and account for 1.7% of health spending.

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The estimate of 9 million premature deaths, considered conservative by the authors, is one and a half times higher than the number of people killed by smoking, and three times the death toll from AIDS, turberculosis and malaria combined. However, deaths from polluted water and dirty household air are falling, while those associated with industrialization are rising.

"Pollution can be eliminated, and pollution prevention can be highly cost-effective - helping to improve health and extend lifespan, while boosting the economy".

According to the study, the financial burden also hits poorer countries hardest, with low-income countries paying 8.3 percent of their GNP to tackle the harm caused by pollution, as compared with 4.5 percent in richer countries.

"Human activities, including industrialisation, urbanisation, and globalisation, are all drivers of pollution".

"It deserves the full attention of global leaders, civil society, health professionals, and people around the world".

"Pollution is a winnable battle".

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