Pollution is deadlier than war: Study


  • Environmental pollution from filthy air to contaminated water is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world.
  • More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters.
  • More than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

About the study:

  • One out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015, which is about 9 million in the world population, could be attributed to disease from toxic exposure, according to a major study released in the Lancet medical journal.
  • The financial cost from pollution—related death, sickness and welfare is equally massive, the report says, costing some $4.6 trillion in annual losses or about 6.2 percent of the global economy.
  • Experts say the 9 million premature deaths the study found was just a partial estimate, and the number of people killed by pollution is undoubtedly higher and will be quantified once more research is done and new methods of assessing harmful impacts are developed.

India’s Position:

  • One out of every four premature deaths in India in 2015, or some 2.5 million, was attributed to pollution.
  • A court ban on firework sales before the Diwali festival didn’t stop New Delhi residents from firing rockets and lighting crackers throughout Thursday night. They awoke Friday morning to acrid, smoke—filled skies and levels of dangerous, lung—clogging particulate matter known as PM2.5 that went beyond 900 parts per million 90 times the recommended limit by the World Health Organization, and 22 times higher than India’s own limits.
  • “What people don’t realize is that pollution does damage to economies. People who are sick or dead cannot contribute to the economy. They need to be looked after” which is also costly.

The Report Highlights:

  • The report highlights the social and economic justice of this issue.
  • The study’s conclusions on the economic cost of pollution measure lost productivity and health care costs, while also considering studies measuring people’s “willingness to pay” to reduce the probability of dying.
  • While these types of studies yield estimates at best, they are used by many governments and economists trying to understand how societies value individual lives.
  • While there has never been an international declaration on pollution, the topic is gaining traction.
  • The relationship between pollution and poverty is very clear.
  • And controlling pollution would help us address many other problems, from climate change to malnutrition.


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