Pollution contributed to about nine million premature deaths in 2015 and cost the world $4.6 trillion in annual losses, according to a study released on Thursday.
Forty seven scientists, public health experts, and policy makers authored the report which used data from organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Health Organization to estimate the economic and mortal toll of pollution. Published by The Lancet, the study's results indicated that pollution was deadlier than smoking, war, AIDS, and road accidents.
One-sixth of all premature deaths worldwide, the authors said, could be attributed to pollution.
Richard Fuller, one of the study's authors, pointed out that premature deaths contributed to economic losses. “What people don’t realize is that pollution does damage to economies. People who are sick or dead cannot contribute to the economy. They need to be looked after," Fuller said, according to the Associated Press.