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Pollution kills 9 million people each year, more than any disease
Polluted air, water and soil are responsible for the premature death of 9 million people each year according to research published in The Lancet. Deaths from pollution exceed those from war, hunger, AIDS or malaria.
Most deaths are caused by pollution-related illnesses, such as stroke, heart disease, and lung cancer. Deaths occur in higher percentage in developing countries due to the rapid advance of industrialization, but the slow regulation of these activities in environmental matters.
Given that nearly all of these deaths (92%) occur in low- and middle-income countries, and that pollution disproportionately affects the poor and marginalized in every country in the world, the report's authors aim to end the neglect of the issue everywhere. the political spectrum and mobilize the will, resources and leadership necessary to confront them.
But pollution doesn't just affect people, the report warns. It also impacts the planet's ecosystems because it is closely linked to climate change.
A fact: the burning of fossil fuels is responsible for 80% of the pollution produced in the form of dust suspended in the air and for almost all the pollution caused by sulfur and nitrogen oxides.
The most important sulfur oxides in terms of air pollution are sulfur dioxide, SO2, and sulfur trioxide, SO3. Nitrogen oxides are one of the most polluting groups. The most important are nitrogen dioxide, NO2 and nitric oxide, NO.
For its part, coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel in the world and its combustion is one of the main causes of both pollution and climate change.
“Pollution is much more than an environmental challenge: it is a deep and omnipresent threat that affects many aspects of human health and well-being. It deserves the full attention of international leaders, civil society, healthcare professionals and people around the world, ”notes the Commission's co-leader, Professor Philip Landrigan, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. , USA, in a statement.
“Despite its far-reaching effects on health, the economy and the environment, pollution has been neglected in international assistance and on global health agendas, and some control strategies have been underfunded. Our goal is to raise global awareness of the importance of pollution and mobilize the political will to tackle it by providing the most comprehensive estimates of pollution and health available. ”