(Bloomberg) -- Cutting down on pollution in the pharma, agriculture and health-care sectors is key to help fight superbugs, according to a new report. 

Hospitals, drugmakers and animal farms release a mix of antimicrobials, metals and other chemicals in wastewater that foster the development of bacteria equipped to resist even the world’s most potent antibiotics, the United Nations Environment Program said Tuesday.

The report unravels links between environmental degradation and antimicrobial resistance, calling for international standards and new financial incentives to swiftly reduce pollution. 

Antimicrobial resistance was directly blamed for about 1.27 million deaths worldwide in 2019, and that number could swell to 10 million a year by 2050, it said. 

“The same drivers that cause environment degradation are worsening the antimicrobial resistance problem,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP. “Cutting down pollution is a prerequisite for another century of progress towards zero hunger and good health.”

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