Around 9 million – or one in six – premature deaths worldwide are caused by pollution each year, according to a landmark report by The Lancet.
The major report is the first to consider the impacts of pollution in the air, water, soil and workplace on health, the economy and society as a whole.
It found that the majority of pollution-related deaths were caused by conditions called non-communicable diseases – which include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, heart conditions and stroke.
Within the EU, pollution was found to cause over 400,000 premature deaths per year – with outdoor air pollution ranking as the most harmful source.
Indoor air pollution – caused by the burning of fuels for cooking and heating, for example – is presented as a major health issue for people in low- and middle income countries.
Use of fossil fuels is highlighted as a key source of a lot of the pollution affecting both low- and high income countries alike.
The report provides a range of recommendations and potential solutions for tackling the public health crisis of pollution – such as better monitoring, considering pollution as a factor in city planning processes, increasing funding, and adding pollution as a core part of the non-communicable disease prevention agenda.
Read the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) press release.
Read the whole Lancet Commission.
Visit the Healthy Lungs for Life website, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of breathing clean air to lung health.
Visit the FRESH AIR website – a project addressing indoor air pollution in low- and middle income countries.
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