Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world, accounting for three times more deaths in 2015 than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, according to a study published in The Lancet medical journal. The report blames pollution for an estimated 9 million premature deaths, about 15 times more than all wars and other forms of violence. Nearly 92% of pollution deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. India leads the world in pollution deaths at 2.5 million, followed by China with 1.8 million.
Class discussion: Is pollution a bigger threat to life than terrorism? Why do we read and hear about terrorism so much more than we do about pollution? What worries you more – violence or pollution? Why? Why do some political, business and labor leaders oppose stronger controls on air and water pollution? Why would India and China lead the world in pollution deaths? China and India have industrialized rapidly and suffered from heavy air pollution. Would it be worthwhile to ease U.S. air pollution and worker health standards to compete with China and India?