With 9 million deaths in 2019, the world makes little progress against pollution, says study

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THE pollution was responsible for about nine million deaths in 2019 – the equivalent of one in six deaths worldwide. The data is from a new report by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health published in the scientific journal The Lancet Planetary Health this Tuesday (17).

The study, which gathers the most up-to-date information on the problem, points to a worrying global scenario, indicating that the number of deaths from pollution remains practically unchanged since the last analysis carried out in 2015.

According to the document, although the number of deaths from sources of pollution associated with extreme poverty, such as domestic air and water pollution, has decreased, these reductions are offset by the increase in deaths attributable to industrial pollution, which includes air pollution. environment and chemistry. Deaths caused by these risk factors, considered by the authors to be an unintended consequence of industrialization and urbanization, increased by 7% since 2015 and over 66% since 2000 .

“The health impacts of pollution remain enormous, and low- and middle-income countries bear the brunt of this burden. Despite its enormous health, social and economic impacts, pollution prevention is largely neglected on the international development agenda,” says Richard Fuller, lead author of the study in a statement. “Attention and funding have increased only minimally since 2015, despite a well-documented increase in public concern about pollution and its health effects.”

Co-author of the study, Professor Philip Landrigan, director of the Global Health Program and the Global Pollution Observatory at Boston College, says that pollution compromises the sustainability of modern societies.

“Preventing pollution can also slow climate change – achieving a dual benefit for planetary health – and our report calls for a massive and rapid transition from all fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy,” says Landrigan.

The 2017 Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, using data from the 2015 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, found that pollution was responsible for an estimated nine million deaths – 16% of all deaths worldwide.

The new report provides updated estimates for the health effects of pollution based on the most recently available 2019 GBD data and methodological updates, as well as an assessment of trends since 2000.

Of the nine million deaths attributable to pollution in 2019, air pollution (domestic and environmental) remains responsible for the highest number of deaths with 6.67 million worldwide. Water pollution was responsible for 1.36 million premature deaths. Lead contributed 900,000 fatalities, followed by toxic occupational hazards with 870,000 victims.

The drop in deaths since 2000 from traditional pollution, such as household air pollution from solid fuels and contaminated water, is most evident in Africa. This can be explained by improvements in water supply and sanitation, use of antibiotics, and cleaner treatments and fuels.

However, the study points out that this decrease in mortality was offset by a substantial increase in deaths from exposure to industrial pollution – such as ambient air pollution, lead pollution and other forms of chemical pollution – in all regions over the past 20 years. . The most serious picture affects Southeast Asia, where increasing levels of industrial pollution are combined with an aging population and an increase in the number of people exposed.

THE Ambient air pollution was responsible for 4.5 million deaths in 2019 compared to 4.2 million in 2015 and 2.9 million in 2000. deaths from dangerous chemical pollutants increased from 0.9 million in 2000 to 1.7 million in 2015, to 1.8 million in 2019 with 900,000 deaths attributable to lead pollution in 2019.

Overall, deaths from modern pollution have increased by 66% in the last two decades, from an estimated 3.8 million victims in 2000 to 6.3 million in 2019. According to the research, the numbers of deaths from chemical pollutants can be even greater due to the lack of safety and toxicity testing of commercially manufactured chemicals.

losses in the economy

THE rise in deaths due to pollution led to economic losses totaling $4.6 trillion in 2019 , which is equivalent to 6.2% of global economic output. The study also notes the profound inequality of pollution, with 92% of pollution-related deaths and the greatest burden of economic losses occurring in low- and middle-income countries.

The study authors point to eight recommendations based on the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health guidelines.

The measures include calls for the formation of an independent science and policy panel in the style of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) on pollution, along with increased funding for pollution control from governments, independent donors and philanthropies and better monitoring of pollution. and data collection.

Experts call on international organizations to approve and establish a better connection between science and policy on pollution, such as climate and biodiversity, starting with chemicals, waste and air pollution.

“Pollution, climate change and loss of biodiversity are closely linked. Successful control of these joint threats requires a formal science policy interface with global support to inform intervention, influence research and guide funding,” says Rachael Kupka, co-author and executive director of the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution.

According to the expert, pollution has been managed as a local issue, which limits the approach to the problem to national regulations. “It is clear that pollution is a planetary threat and that its drivers, dispersion and health impacts transcend local boundaries and require a global response. Global action on all major modern pollutants is needed.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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