Pollution is one of the world’s great killers if our age, a new study says, causing more premature deaths than war, terrorism, natural disasters, cigarettes and disease.
A 2016 study in the medical journal Lancet said pollution, both outdoor and indoor, killed about 9 million people in 2015, or one out of every six deaths.
“Pollution threatens fundamental human rights, such as the right to life, health, well-being, safe work as well as protections of children and the most vulnerable,” co-author Karti Sandilya said.
The study said the overwhelming majority of pollution-related deaths come in developing countries like Nigeria where the authors say leaders are more concerned about building their economies and infrastructure than environmental regulations.
A report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) states that four of the 20 cities with the worst pollution recorded in the world are in Nigeria. Onitsha, was ranked as the world’s worst city in terms of air quality. The cities of Kaduna, Aba, and Umuahia are also among the top 20 worst cities measured by PM10, ranking 8th, 9th, and 19th, respectively.
“There is this myth that finance ministers still live by, that you have to let industry pollute or else you won’t develop. What people don’t realize … people who are sick or dead cannot contribute to the economy. They need to be looked after,” Fuller said.
The study said the figure of 9 million premature deaths a year is a conservative estimate and that the actual number is likely to be much higher.
A separate World Bank study has said slashing pollution must be a priority, saying that solving this problem would lead to solutions to other crises, including global warming and malnutrition.. Which will ultimately reduce premature deaths.