Pollution killed 9 million people in 2019, study finds

London, May 17 (EFE).- Pollution was responsible for 9 million deaths in 2019, according to a new study published Tuesday in The Lancet Planetary Health journal.

The number of deaths caused by sources of pollution associated with extreme poverty, such as poor indoor air quality and unsafe water, fell since 2015, although that decline was offset by an increase in industrial pollution, so overall deaths were about the same as four years ago.

The 9 million premature deaths equate to one in six globally.

Around 75 percent of deaths caused directly by pollution are due to air pollution, while more than 1.8 million are caused by other types of chemical pollutants, including soil toxicity.

However, the study highlights that in the last two decades, deaths attributed to traditional pollution have decreased, especially in Africa, largely thanks to improved sanitation of drinking water and cleaner fuels.

Over the same period, deaths caused by modern forms of pollution, such as ambient air pollution and toxic chemical pollution, have increased by 66 percent, the study said, driven by industrialization, uncontrolled urbanization, population growth, fossil fuel combustion, and an absence of adequate national or international chemical policy.

Lead and other chemicals are responsible for at least 1.8 million deaths each year, and more than 90 percent of pollution-related deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries.

Given these findings, experts recommend the creation of an independent intergovernmental commission to analyze the dangers and possible solutions to pollution, as well as greater funding from governments and independent organizations to help tackle the problem.

“We cannot continue to ignore pollution. We are going backwards,” the report said. EFE


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