- Pollution is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.The US is the only developed country in the top 10. It ranks at number eight.It is estimated that toxic exposure caused at least 9 million premature deaths in 2015.
Environmental pollution – from filthy air to contaminated water – is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
One out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015 – about 9 million – could be attributed to disease from toxic exposure, according to a major study released Thursday in the Lancet medical journal. The financial cost from pollution-related death, sickness and welfare is equally massive, the report says, costing some $4.6 trillion in annual losses – or about 6.2% of the global economy.
“There’s been a lot of study of pollution, but it’s never received the resources or level of attention as, say, AIDS or climate change,” said epidemiologist Philip Landrigan, dean of global health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and the lead author of the report.
The report marks the first attempt to pull together data on disease and death caused by all forms of pollution combined.
While the top 10 countries with the highest death tolls were reported mostly in Asia, a few countries outside the region appeared on the list, including the US and a few African nations. The US is the only developed country ranked in the top 10.
Here are the countries with the highest number of pollution-related deaths in the world:
#10 — Democratic Republic of the Congo: 123,942 (18% of all deaths)
- Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters
#9 — Ethiopia: 129,450 (19.1% of all deaths)
- Irada Humbatova/Reuters
#8 — United States: 155,155 (5.7% of all deaths)
#7 — Russia: 172,536 (8.6% of all deaths)
- Thomas Peter/Reuters
#6 — Indonesia: 211,896 (13.5% of all deaths)
- Business Insider
#5 — Nigeria: 257,093 (18.7% of all deaths)
- Paul Carsten/Reuters
#4 — Bangladesh: 260,836 (26.6% of all deaths)
- Reuters/Adnan Abidi
#3 — Pakistan: 311,189 (21.9% of all deaths)
- Caren Firouz/Reuters
#2 — China: 1,838,251 (19.5% of all deaths)
- ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images
#1 — India: 2,515,518 (24.5% of all deaths)
- REUTERS/Amit Dave