Environment Current Affairs

India tops list of pollution-linked deaths: Study

According to new study published in medical journal The Lancet, India has topped list of countries with pollution-related deaths in 2015.

In India, 2.51 million people died prematurely in 2015 due to diseases linked to air, water and other forms of pollution. Of the 2.51 million deaths in India, 1.81 million were related to air pollution, 0.64 million to water pollution, 0.17 million to occupational exposure and 95,000 linked to lead pollution

Key Facts

Globally, air pollution was biggest contributor linked to 6.5 million deaths in 2015, ahead of water pollution (1.8 million) and workplace-related pollution (0.8 million).

Most of the pollution-related deaths — 92%— were reported in low and middle income countries, and in rapidly industrialising nations such as India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Madagascar and Kenya. China, with 1.8 million pollution-linked deaths in 2015, followed India.  Most of these deaths were due to non-communicable diseases caused by pollution, such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

India accounted for about 28% of an estimated 9 million pollution-linked deaths worldwide in 2015 and topped list of deaths linked to polluted air (1.81 million) and water (0.64 million).

China (1.58 million) was placed after India in deaths linked to air-pollution, followed by Pakistan (0.22 million), Bangladesh (0.21 million) and Russia (0.14 million). In deaths linked to water pollution, Nigeria (0.16 million) and Pakistan (74,000) were placed after India.

The Lancet study concluded that pollution is now largest environmental cause of disease and death globally — three times more those from HIV-AIDS, TB and malaria put together. It also found that pollution from outdoor and indoor air, water and soil contamination, and chemical pollutants was one of largest risk factors leading to premature death.


For the study, researchers had used data from Global Burden of Disease study, which brings together comprehensive estimates on effects of pollution on health, provides economic costs, and reveals the extent of contaminated sites across world for first time. Its aim was to raise global awareness on pollution, end neglect of pollution-related diseases, and mobilise resources and political will to effectively confront pollution.


Hans Joachim Schellnhuber wins 2017 Blue Planet Prize

Prof Hans Joachim Schellnhuber from Germany won 2017 Blue Planet Prize, world’s most prestigious award for pioneers in environmental science.

He was awarded for establishing new field of science ‘Earth System Analysis’ and introducing most influential concepts including the notion of tipping elements in the climate system in Tokyo. He is Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

Beside him, Prof. Gretchen C. Daily from US also won the award for her work promoting practical conservation by revealing the value of nature.

Blue Planet Prize

It is the world’s most prestigious award for pioneers in environmental science and often considered as Nobel Prize for environmental research. It was instituted by Asahi Glass Foundation. It honours outstanding thinkers who help to meet challenges of planetary dimensions. It carries prize of 50 million yen (about $450,000) and is handed over in presence of Japan’s Imperial Prince and Princess.

Previous recipients of prize include the Syukuro Manabe who is considered as godfather of climate modelling,   Norway’s former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and Charles Keeling who gave his name to the famous Keeling curve of atmospheric CO2 concentration measurements.