Deaths from fossil fuel burning and lead poisoning have risen by 66 percent in the past two decades
In 2015, 1 in 6 deaths worldwide stemmed from poor air quality, unsafe water and toxic chemical pollution. That deadly toll — 9 million people each year — has continued unabated through 2019, killing more people than war, terrorism, road injuries, malaria, drugs and alcohol.
The new findings, released Tuesday by the Lancet Planetary Health journal,shows that pollution continues to be the world’s largest environmental health threat for disease and premature deaths, with more the 90 percent of these deaths taking place in low- and middle-income countries.
Richard Fuller, the report’s lead author, said in an interview that “a lack of attention” accounts for why this grim tally continues unabated.
“There’s not much of an outcry around pollution … even though, clearly, 9 million people dying a year is an enormous issue to be concerned about,” he said.