Over 23.5 lakh Indians died prematurely due to pollution in 2019, the highest among all countries, according to a report published on Tuesday in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health.

The majority of the deaths, 16.7 lakh of them, were caused due to air pollution. The toll accounted for 17.8% of the total deaths in India in 2019, according to The Indian Express.

Among those who died due to air pollution, 9.8 lakh were affected by ambient pollution caused by PM2.5 – tiny particles in the air that are two and half microns or less in width, the researchers said. Household air pollution caused 6.1 lakh deaths.

In 93% of India’s overall area, the PM2.5 levels breached the World Health Organization-mandated guidelines, the report said.

According to the study, burning of biomass in households was the single largest cause of air pollution deaths in India, followed by coal combustion and crop burning.

Water pollution was responsible for 14 lakh premature deaths in India in 2019, whereas chemical pollution due to lead killed nine lakh persons. Toxic occupational hazards resulted in for 8.7 lakh deaths, according to the Lancet report.