Air Pollution: A Nationwide Problem

May 24, 2018

Nations across the world are being adversely affected by rising levels of pollution, from contaminated water to dirty air. Pollution, which causes heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer and respiratory diseases, “is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today,” according to an October study on the health effects of pollution in the The Lancet medical journal. Toxic exposure cost $4.6 trillion and caused 9 million premature deaths – 6.5 million just from air pollution – in 2015, the study estimated.

But the health burden of air pollution is not spread evenly across the world, with people in some low-income nations much more likely to be killed by air pollution than others. Some wealthier nations have stepped up to combat the growing pollution and climate crisis, with world leaders gathering this week for a global climate conference in Bonn, Germany, to negotiate terms for the 2015 Paris climate accord.

These are the 10 countries with the highest mortality rates (per 100,000 people) associated with air pollution in 2016, according to data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Air pollution-related diseases caused about 6.5 million premature deaths globally. With 105,083 of those deaths, The United States is one of 10 countries with the highest air pollution-related death tolls.

Country Air Pollution-Related Deaths
India 1,614,620
China 1,576,593
Indonesia 132,436
United States 105,083
Egypt 68,520
Brazil 59,467
Ukraine 58,364
Japan 47,703
Germany 39,536
Mexico 31,141

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