Pollution just isn’t a global annoyance, it’s a deadly killer.
According to CBS News, pollution is now linked to approximately 9 million deaths per year. That’s three times as many deaths as malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS combined.
The new unfortunate information was published in The Lancet — saying that pollution played a role in one in six of all deaths across the earth in 2015.
About 52% of survey respondents expect to vacation at the beach in the next 12 months, but the global pollution is severely impacting the world’s beaches, shorelines, and wildlife. It’s estimated that in addition to these fatalities, one million birds, 100,000 turtles, and countless other sea animals die each year from injecting various polluted materials.
“Pollution is much more than an environmental challenge — it is a profound and pervasive threat that affects many aspects of human health and wellbeing,” said Philip Landrigan, commission co-leader and professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
The report is a culmination of a two-year project that involved 40 international health and environmental experts as part of The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Public Health.
“There’s been a lot of study of pollution, but it’s never received the resources or level of attention as, say, AIDS or climate change,” added Landrigan. “Pollution is a massive problem that people aren’t seeing because they’re looking at scattered bits of it.”
As far as beach pollution is concerned, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its report of main sources of beach pollution:
- Combined sewer overflows
- Sanitary swear overflows
- Discarded trash and litter
- Vessel discharges
- Nitrogen, phosphorus, and other gas emissions
Everyone from international scientists to the average American citizen can do their part to improve the environment and needs to do so if the goal is to cut down on these deaths and preserve the planet. Picking up litter, being more environmentally aware, and fighting for environmentally friendly legislation are just a few small ways to get started.
“Human activities, including industrialisation, urbanisation, and globalisation, are all drivers of pollution,” wrote Dr. Richard Horton and Dr. Pamela Das of the Lancet, saying that the report should serve as a timely call to action.
As far as the death toll, one out of every four premature deaths in India (in 2015) involved pollution. That’s 2.5 million pollution-related deaths, which is the highest country on the report. China’s pollution was the second deadliest on the list, with more than 1.8 million premature deaths due to pollution-related diseases. Several other nations such as North Korea, South Sudan, Haiti, Pakistan, and Bangladesh also saw nearly a fifth of their premature deaths caused by the global pollution epidemic.