Air pollution kills 5.5 million globally each year, new research shows

New research led by the University of British Columbia has found that more than 5.5 million people die prematurely each year due to household and outdoor air pollution.

See Full Article

And, more than half of those deaths occur in India and China -- two of the world’s fastest growing economies.

The research was presented Friday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

For the meeting, researchers from Canada, the United States, China and India analyzed air pollution levels and calculated the impact on health.

The data found that there are several contributing factors to air pollution including power plants, industrial manufacturing, vehicle exhaust and burning coal and wood. These practices and industries release into the air small particles that are dangerous to a person’s health.

Cardiovascular disease accounts for the majority of deaths from air pollution, which is also linked to lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and respiratory infections.

The study led researchers to reach a dire conclusion: Unless more aggressive targets to lower future emissions are met, the number of premature deaths due to air pollution will increase over the next 20 years.

“Air pollution is the fourth highest risk factor for death globally and by far the leading environmental risk factor for disease,” said University of British Columbia professor Michael Brauer in a statement. “Reducing air pollution is an incredibly efficient way to improve the health of a population.”

In 2015, world leaders adopted the first global pact to fight climate change, which included calling on nations to cut and eliminate greenhouse gas pollution.

Air pollution in India, China

The study found that in 2013, approximately 1.6 million people died of air pollution in China and 1.4 million died in India.

At this time of year, Beijing and New Delhi see daily air pollution levels that are at or above 300 micrograms per cubic metre, which is 1,200 per cent higher than the World Health guidelines for daily particulate matter.

In China, burning coal was the biggest contributor to poor air quality, with data showing that outdoor air pollution from coal alone caused an estimated 366,000 deaths in 2013. Unless more ambitious emissions targets are met, air pollution will cause anywhere from 990,000 to 1.3 million premature deaths in 2030, said Qiao Ma, an environmental PhD student at Tsinghua in Beijing.

“Our study highlights the urgent need for even more aggressive strategies to reduce emissions from coal and from other sectors,” Ma said in the statement.

In India, a main contributor to poor air quality was the practice of burning wood, dung and “similar sources of biomass” for cooking and heating. Millions of families in India are “regularly exposed” to high levels of particulate matter in their own homes, researchers found.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Boreal forest starting to bounce back from Fort McMurray wildfire

    Tech & Science CTV News
    FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. -- The drumming of black-backed woodpeckers is a sure sign the boreal forest is slowly bouncing back from the devastation caused by last spring's wildfire near Fort McMurray. Woodpeckers are busy in the roughly 5,900-square-kilometre area in northern Alberta that was torched. Source
  • Double bed, favourite foods lined up for U.S.-born panda's flight to China

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The National Zoo in Washington D.C., is packing up its American-born panda cub Bao Bao for a one-way flight to China, where the 3-year-old will eventually join a panda breeding program. The cub won't have to worry about finding overhead bin space or dealing with a talkative seatmate on the 16-hour, nonstop flight Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday. Source
  • Special delivery: U.S.-born panda cub Bao Bao bound for China

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The National Zoo is packing up its American-born panda cub Bao Bao for a one-way flight to China, where the 3-year-old will eventually join a panda breeding program. The cub won't have to worry about finding overhead bin space or dealing with a talkative seatmate on the 16-hour, nonstop flight Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday. Source
  • Advances in imaging could deepen knowledge of brain

    Tech & Science CTV News
    New imaging techniques enable exploration of the brain in much more detail than ever before, opening the door to greater understanding of neurological problems and possibly new treatments, researchers say. Showcased this week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting, the research and innovations are the product of three U.S. Source
  • As Arctic warms, Canada's glaciers playing major role in sea level rise

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Canada's glaciers are responding rapidly to a warming Arctic and are a major contributor to sea level rise, a new study suggests. Researchers from the University of California Irvine studied data collected from 1991 to 2015 on glaciers found in the Queen Elizabeth Islands in the Arctic. Source
  • Government to weed out pesticides from foreign websites

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The federal government is moving to close a loophole that allows Canadians to make legal online purchases of pesticides not registered for use in Canada, and have them shipped into the country. Right now, if someone buys the pesticides for use around their own home and doesn't exceed the amount that qualifies for an exemption, there is little that authorities can do to stop the shipment, say government officials. Source
  • New Zealand judge upholds Kim Dotcom extradition ruling

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- A New Zealand judge has upheld an earlier ruling that flamboyant internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and three of his colleagues can be extradited to the U.S. to face criminal charges. The decision Monday comes five years after U.S. Source
  • '100 per cent mental sport': Drone racing growing in popularity

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Drones may be known for taking photos and videos from high above, but a group of drone pilots is looking to popularize the latest trend in Canada: racing. Competitive drone racing started roughly four years ago, but its popularity recently exploded around the world. Source
  • Milwaukee tells 'Pokemon Go' creators to get permit to have creatures in parks

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MILWAUKEE -- "Pokemon Go" monsters can roam virtually wherever they please, but they'll need a permit to get into Milwaukee County parks. At the height of the game's popularity last summer, the large crowds it attracted to one Milwaukee park left county officials at a loss for how to deal with the sudden influx of players and the trash they left behind. Source
  • SpaceX launches rocket with supplies to International Space Station

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was sent into space Sunday aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, on a mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. The launch was the first from Kennedy Space Center since the shuttles were retired six years ago. Source