India has topped the list of countries with pollution-linked deaths in 2015 according to the study published in medical journal, The Lancet with 2.51 million people dying prematurely in the country due to diseases linked to air, water and other forms of pollution. The Lancet study deduced that pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and death in the world today which is more than that from smoking, hunger, and natural disasters and three times to the number of deaths from HIV-AIDS, TB and malaria put together. India alone estimated 28 percent of an estimated 9 million pollution-linked deaths worldwide in 2015. China which was previously at the number one spot is now at second. The report was prepared from a research conducted by about 40 international scientists.
The report focussed on bringing the real facts together from Global Burden of Disease study to raise global awareness on pollution, end neglect of pollution-related diseases, and mobilise resources and political will to effectively confront pollution.
The report also said that one in six of all deaths worldwide is caused by pollution, and the vast majority occur in developing countries. Karti Sandilya, one of the authors and an adviser to environmental group Pure Earth said “With globalisation, mining and manufacturing shifted to poorer countries, where environmental regulations and enforcement can be lax. People in poorer countries – like construction workers in New Delhi – are more exposed to air pollution and less able to protect themselves from exposure, as they walk, bike or ride the bus to workplaces that may also be polluted”.
Of the 2.51 million deaths in India, 1.81 million were related to air pollution, 0.64 million to water pollution, 0.17 million to occupational exposure and 95,000 linked to lead pollution. Globally, air pollution was the biggest contributor to deaths with 6.5 million deaths in 2015, ahead of water pollution (1.8 million) and workplace-related pollution (0.8 million). Most of the deaths from the population were in countries with low and middle incomes or those with rapid industrialising such as India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Madagascar and Kenya. China (1.58 million) was placed after India in deaths linked to air-pollution, followed by Pakistan (0.22 million), Bangladesh (0.21 million) and Russia (0.14 million).