Pollution kills 9 million people per year

A new study revealed that in 2015 contamination of the environment killed more people than wars

Pollution kills 9 million people per year

Leer en Español: La contaminación mata 9 millones de personas al año

Donald Trump, the president of the United States and the "most powerful man in the world", is firmly opposed to Climate Change awareness, as he has shown in public declarations, in certain Executive Orders, and in his Twitter account. The republican president does not believe it is scientific truth and has dismissed the efforts to reduce it. For instance, when he withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement of reduction of the CO2 earlier this year.

However, according to the Lancet Institute, the Climate Change not the only problem caused by contamination. A recent investigation from the journal showed that in 2015 9 million people died due to different kinds of contamination. 40 scientists from the Health and Pollution Commission proved how 16% of the deaths in that year were related to the environmental problematic.

The publication assured that contamination caused "three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence". According to the research, some of the related diseases are cardiovascular problems, ischemic strokes, lung cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD), among others.

In the world, the most dangerous contamination is the air pollution. In 2015 6.5 million people died because of the smog and correlated diseases. The second most dangerous form of pollutin is water contamination, with 1.8 million fatalities, and the third is pollution in the workplace with 0.8 million.

The story also highlights that the majority of pollution related deaths were  of people living in poverty, which confirms that the public health policies are failing to treat the most vulnerable population. 92% of the deaths "occur in low-income and middle-income countries and, in countries at every income level, disease caused by pollution is most prevalent among minorities and the marginalized".

The research also warned that pollution is affecting children and assured that "extremely low-dose exposures to pollutants during windows of vulnerability in uterus and in early infancy can result in disease, disability, and death in childhood and across their lifespan"

The most vulnerable countries that suffered between 151 and 316 deaths per 100.000 people are: India, Bangladesh, Somalia, Niger, Chad, Nepal, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Bulgaria, Belarus, Central African Republic, Pakistan, Angola, Burundi, Ukraine, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Zambia, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Lesotho and Madagascar. In Iberian America, the most affected countries, after Haiti, are Cuba and Honduras with between 76 and 100 of pollution related deaths per 100.000 people. The better "ranked" where Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico.

Pollution is also an economic problem. According to the research, the "willing to pay to avoid premature death due to pollution related disease, (...) it is more than US$4.6 trillion, which is 6.2% of the global economic output".


The Lancet research also revealed that in 2015, just in Spain, the contamination killed almost 24.000 people. This represents a 5.8% of the total fatalities per year.


In Colombia, the contamination caused the country to spend 35 trillion Colombian pesos, which is 4.1% of the national GDP. The Government assured that solely air pollution costs around 15.4 trillion Colombian pesos due to Health Care.


According to a recent study of the Energy police Institute of the Chicago, if Mexico City obeys the WHO requirements, their people could live 124 days and 2.4 hours more, which means that the air pollution is reducing the life of citizens of the Mexican capital by 4 months.


In the past years, the WHO calculates the air pollution caused 9.756 deaths every year in Argentina. According to the Red de Pueblo Fumigados, the small and medium cities are the exposed to the chemicals due to fumigations. The organizations estimates that this, increase the probability of cancer in 30-40%.


Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda