These are the countries with the most pollution-related deaths

Coal fired power station Niederaussem

The study said the figure of 9 million premature deaths a year is a conservative estimate and that the actual number is likely to be much higher.

Air pollution, the leading cause, killed 6.5 million people around the world. The results of the study were published in the journal The Lancet. That's "three times as many deaths as [from] AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined and 15 times as many deaths as [from] war and all forms of violence", the report says. It is also more than six times deadlier than road accidents and more fatal than hunger and natural disasters.

More than 155,000 people were killed by pollution in the USA, but those deaths made up just 5.74% of the country's total.

Experts say the huge population of countries like India and China and the fact that these are developing economies should also be kept in mind while analysing these statistics. The report was led by Philip Landrigan from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, U.S.

"This is an immensely important piece of work highlighting the impact that environmental pollution has on death and disease", Maria Neira, the WHO director of public health and the environment, told the Guardian. The Lancet Commission on pollution and health focuses on how it has been neglected by the Governments and worldwide development agenda despite the urgency.

"Although more than 70 per cent of the diseases caused by pollution are non-communicable diseases, interventions against pollution are barely mentioned in the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases".

China ranked second deadliest with over 1.8 million premature deaths recorded.

News agency PTI reported that the online indicators of the pollution monitoring stations in Delhi on Diwali nigh glowed red, indicating a "very poor" air quality as the volume of ultra fine particulates PM2.5 and PM10, which enter the respiratory system and manage to reach the bloodstream, sharply rose from around 7 pm.

Most of these premature deaths occur in developing countries and disproportionately affect the poor.

Bangladesh, China, Haiti, India, Pakistan, North Korea and South Sudan are some of the most affected countries.

Pollution, the report said, was also "costly", costing some United States dollars 4.6 trillion in annual losses - or about 6.2 per cent of the global economy.

For low-middle-income countries like India, the productivity loss is to the tune of 0.32-0.4% of GDP. The study calculated the global cost of pollution at $4.6 trillion per year, equivalent to 6.2 percent of the global economic output. "The costs attributed to pollution-related disease will probably increase as additional associations between pollution and disease are identified", it said.

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