Exposure to toxic air, water, soil and chemicals kills 8.3 million people around the world every year according to a new analysis from the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution. It warns that pollution kills three times as many people a year as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. It also kills 15 times as many people each year as war and other forms of violence. At least 90 percent of all premature deaths from pollution occur in low and middle-income countries.
India and China are the two countries with the most pollution deaths per year with 2,326,711 and 1,865,566 respectively. The analysis notes that it is not surprising to see them at the top of the list as both nations have billion-plus populations and are rapidly industrializing. Nigeria ranks third in premature pollution deaths with 279,318, followed by Indonesia with 232,974 and Pakistan 223,836. The United States is among the ten worst countries for pollution deaths and it ranks seventh with just under 200,000 deaths per year.
The problem isn't just confined to large industrialized nations with huge populations and mega cities blanketed in smog. Pollution is the leading cause of death in many low and middle income countries due to a combination of poor water sanitation and contaminated indoor air. When it comes to deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, Chad has the highest figure with 287. It is followed by the Central African Republic with 251 and North Korea with 202.