India tops the world in pollution-related deaths

While the methodology in a growing body of research and the findings of various studies may be questioned as to their accuracy, it stands to reason that we must wake up as a nation if we do not desire to make the very living in the country a matter of life and death due to pollution.

Philip Landrigan, dean of global health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and the lead author of the report, told HuffPost the study is the first and most comprehensive of its kind. The global economy, on the other hand, is losing $4.6 trillion (about 6.2 percent) yearly due to the financial cost from death and sickness linked to pollution [VIDEO].

The study, published on Friday in the Lancet, warned that pollution is so risky it "threatens the continuing survival of human societies".

"Pollution is much more than an environmental challenge", said Philip Landrigan, a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the USA who co-led the study.

"For decades, pollution and its harmful effects on people's health, the environment and the planet have been neglected both by governments and the global development community", it said.

"There is this myth that finance ministers still live by: that you have to let industry pollute or else you won't develop".

"Pollution-related diseases cause productivity losses that reduce gross domestic product (GDP) in low-income to middle-income countries by up to 2 per cent each year".

Air pollution apart, water pollution killed almost 6.46 lakh Indians. What people don't realize ... people who are sick or dead can not contribute to the economy.

It's not all bad news, however.

And unlike many health crises, like the AIDS epidemic, where the answer isn't immediately attainable, many sources of pollution can be easily diagnosed and remedied. "The costs attributed to pollution-related disease will probably increase as additional associations between pollution and disease are identified", it said.

"There's been a lot of study of pollution, but it has never received the resources or level of attention as, say, Aids or climate change", Landrigan said. "We have already started taking action based on the recommendations made by the two groups".

Experts had previously estimated that 40,000 people were dying in the United Kingdom from air pollution, which itself had led to calls for immediate action from the Government.

"Pamela Das and Richard Horton, The LancetPollution is an extremely costly problem, even without environmental damage costs taken into account".

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency moved to eliminate the Clean Power Plan, a set of Obama-era regulations that put strict limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired plants.

  • Eleanor Harrison