If you live in the capital of the Philippines which is Manila, particularly in the old part of town called “Old Manila” which encompasses Quiapo, Divisoria, Tondo, including that long stretch of Taft where all the universities and schools are, you probably would have breathed in the DANGEROUS POLLUTION off the city streets! That comes from smoke-belching jeepneys, buses, tricycles and all of humanity that has been giving off horrendous air pollution in the atmosphere.

I mentioned all these because as a country girl at heart who lived primarily in our little town here of Victoria, Tarlac, I sometimes do not notice the horrible pollution in Manila until I pay a visit to the city. But that is what this study from the medical journal Lancet has reported – that environmental pollution kills 15 times more people each year than all the wars, shootings, and natural disasters combined!

Communicable or life-threatening diseases like tuberculosis, AIDS, malaria, and dengue might decimate various sectors of the population in countries. But environmental pollution kills at least 3 times more people than those diseases combined every year. That includes also deaths from road accidents and when compared to environmental pollution is still six times less damaging than environmental pollution.

Exposure to toxic chemicals and elements is the cause of one out of six premature deaths in 2015 – and that covers the entire planet — which should translate to about 9 million people dying from pollution every year. The study also said that welfare, sicknesses, and deaths related to pollution added up to US$4.6 trillion in yearly losses for everyone – about 6.2% of the global economy. That’s a lot of losses when you think about it!

Rich and Poor Nations Both Suffer from Pollution

The common belief is the poorer, 3rd world countries usually get it worse than the richer ones. In fact, the 9 million people who reportedly died of environmental pollution in 2015 were supposed to be a partial estimate. It is because not all countries, like Sub-Saharan Africa, do not have sophisticated equipment and technology to record and monitor air pollution.

Of some 5,000 new chemicals which were supposed to have been distributed throughout the environment since 1950, less than half were tested for safety and toxicity.

Asia and Africa are reportedly the regions with the most risk in terms of pollution. India is tagged to be in the top position in terms of pollution – one in 4 premature deaths in 2015 was caused by pollution. This was followed by China which attributed one out of every five premature deaths to pollution-related diseases. North Korea, South Sudan, Haiti, Pakistan, and Bangladesh were recorded also to have really bad records for pollution.

The surprising one is the U.K. Even though it’s a first world country, the U.K. has historically one of the worse records for environmental pollution. About 50,000 people die every year from pollution-related illnesses in the U.K.! This is attributed mostly to coal-fired plants and vehicular pollution.

The Shocking Truth

Despite these somber and disturbing statistics, most of these countries have not done much to control pollution. India might have put some stricter emission standards in place for cars and factories. But they are largely ignoring dirty fossil fuels, crop burning, and similar problems.

All the study’s conclusions were arrived at using methods specified by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

So how about you – do you have your own opinion regarding pollution and how serious it is here in the Philippines? Share your comments with us below!

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