Pollution is the World’s Greatest Killer

If someone asked you what the world’s biggest killer is, you would probably guess that the answer is violence or some kind of illness, like AIDS or heart disease. You would be wrong. Though these scourges kill many people every year, the greatest cause of premature death in the world is environmental pollution.

According to a major study just released in The Lancet medical journal, pollution was responsible for about one out of every six early deaths in the world in 2015. This adds up to about 9 million deaths annually. This means that such things as dirty air and contaminated drinking water kills more people every year than all forms of violence. It also kills more people than smoking, AIDS, hunger, or natural disasters.


What’s worse than this is that these 9 million deaths are probably only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. This number is only an estimate of the number of deaths caused annually by pollution. Once more research is done, this number is expected to climb significantly.

Out of all the areas where environmental pollution was tested, Asia and Africa were the continents where the most people were at risk from pollution-related death. Of all the individual countries studied, India was the worst, with roughly 25% of premature deaths in 2015 caused by pollution. China was the second worst, with about 20% of deaths caused by illnesses related to pollution. Several other countries- such as North Korea, Haiti, Pakistan, and Bangladesh- also had about 20% of their early deaths caused by environmental pollution. Since their populations were smaller, though, the total death toll was less than that of India’s and China’s.

Making this news even more tragic is that these deaths are often concentrated among the people who are already suffering the most—the poorest people in the world. About 92% of pollution-related deaths take place in developing countries where average incomes are quite low. Unfortunately, governments in these countries are more concerned with developing the economy, often at the expense of the environment. This study shows that such a focus actually causes a country more harm, since it results in illness and death due to pollution. Since the financial cost of death and illness related to pollution costs the world about $4.6 trillion a year, a focus on the economy to the detriment of the environment also causes more economic harm than good to developing countries.

The release of the study comes at a time when the world is starting to focus more on the effects of pollution. Both the United Nations and the World Bank have announced efforts to reduce global pollution. It is hoped that this research will help spur these entities and others to increase their efforts to protect the environment and save lives.

Next Article
  • New Exoplanet May Be Able to Support New Life

    In most recent news, a team of Scientists just announced a new, epic discovery. What is it? It’s a potentially habitable exoplanet about the size of Earth. It’s said to be orbiting a dim dwarf star around eleven light years away. The name of this new exoplanet has been named Ross 128b after the red...

    Read More
  • The Plague That Caused People to Dance Themselves to Death

    On an otherwise unremarkable July day in early 16th century Strasbourg (now in France), a woman known as Frau Troffea ran into the street and began dancing. There was no music being played, and it wasn’t a holiday or day of celebration, yet, for reasons unknown, she felt compelled to dance. She continued her solo...

    Read More
  • The Plastic-Eating Caterpillar That Could Help Save the Planet

    An amateur Spanish beekeeper recently made a discovery that could have a major impact in our planet’s fight against pollution and global warming. While tending to her beehives, she removed some wax worms from them, since they are pests that are parasitic towards bee colonies. To get rid of them, she put them in an...

    Read More
  • This Town Has Been on Fire for More Than 50 Years

    The borough of Centralia is located in Columbia County, Pennsylvania. In the late 1800s it was a thriving anthracite coal mining town with a population of close to 3,000, but as of 2013 the population is no more than seven. The diminished population is the result of an underground coal...

    Read More
  • Strange Face in the MRI Machine

    Being in charge of brain scans for a major research lab can be quite challenging. It’s no lie that you get to witness a lot of strange and interesting findings. A man with the name of Ben Inglis manages the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) facility at The University of California, Berkeley Brain Imaging Center. He...

    Read More
  • The World’s Most Glamorous Train

    The Orient Express has been noted as being the world’s most glamorous train, but how did it get that title?  Well, the story of The Orient Express takes off in the 1860’s when the concept of globetrotting tourism was still fairly new.  For years, the ultra-rich had been the only people that could afford to...

    Read More
  • The Chapel of Bones

    This interesting chapel; located in Evora, Portugal; called the Capela dos Ossos.  This place has definitely been receiving some attention on social media.  This chapel is a smaller portion of a larger, bone free church compound.  The name of that larger church complex is Igreja de Sao Francisco.  Inside this amazing bone chapel, it’s lined...

    Read More
  • The Earliest Evidence of Wine Making

    This new find definitely deserves a grand toast. Scientists have just recently discovered what is now to be considered the oldest known winemaking site on record. Archaeologists have just recently discovered ceramic jars which have shown evidence of winemaking during an excavation of two Neolithic sites called Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora. These sites are...

    Read More