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"From 2015 to 2019, world pollution-related deaths increased by seven percent. But unlike climate change, malaria, or HIV, we have not given this problem much focus," the study co-author Fuller stated.
On Tuesday, a data review conducted by U.K. medical journal The Lancet showed that global deaths from environmental contamination have remained at about nine million per year since 2015.
“From 2015 to 2019, world pollution-related deaths increased by seven percent due to industrial processes and urbanization increasing. But unlike climate change, malaria, or HIV, we have not given this problem much focus,” said Richard Fuller, the study co-author and head of the Pure Earth international not-for-profit organization.
The authors analyzed 2019 data from the Global Disease Burden, an ongoing study by the Washington University that assesses overall pollution exposure and calculates mortality risk.
Their review showed that deaths from traditional pollutants remain a big problem in Africa and that tainted water and dirty indoor air put Chad, the Central African Republic, and Niger as the three countries with the most pollution-related deaths.
Plastic waste is a key factor in the degradation of our natural resources. Challenges related to plastic waste will continue to grow exponentially, exercerbating environmental pollution and #climatechange if nothing is done. This calls for more comprehensive upstream solutions. pic.twitter.com/81VBDH0mGn
The scientists, nevertheless, found that state programs to cut indoor air pollution and sanitary improvements curbed death tolls by two-thirds between 2000 and 2019 in Ethiopia and Nigeria.
They also found that deaths caused by exposure to modern pollutants such as heavy metals, agrochemicals, and fossil fuel emissions have risen by 66 percent since 2000.
Chad and the Central African Republic ranked first and second in this study’s list of the ten countries most affected by pollution-related deaths. Niger, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, North Korea, Lesotho, Bulgaria, and Burkina Faso followed them.