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

  • Space-preserved sperm: It's a thing, scientists say, after successful experiment with mice

    Tech & Science CBC News
    After nine months in space, mouse sperm has yielded healthy mice. That's the word from Japanese scientists whose results were published Monday. The freeze-dried sperm samples were launched in 2013 to the International Space Station and returned to Earth in 2014. Source
  • Mouse sperm yields healthy mice after 9 months in space

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- After nine months in space, mouse sperm has yielded healthy mice, Japanese scientists reported Monday. The freeze-dried sperm samples were launched in 2013 to the International Space Station and returned to Earth in 2014. Source
  • B.C. students win top prize at national science fair for plan to get humans home from Mars

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Grade 11 students Charles Wang (left) and Spencer Zezulka (right) of Surrey were awarded an $8,000 Youth Can Innovate Award from the Gwyn Morgan and Patricia Trottier Family Foundation (pictured here), at the Canada Wide Science Fair. Source
  • What Canada's Authorities - and Lottery Corporations - should Learn from Global iGaming

    Tech & Science 24news
    Canada is a country with quite a few commercial and tribal casino operations. As such, you might expect its residents to get all the casino action they can get both in real life and in the great online. Nothing could be further from the truth, though - the country only has three legal online gambling operations for its 10 provinces, each one operated by local lottery corporations. The laws of Canada don't allow anyone except state-owned lotteries to offer online gambling services to locals.…
  • Mark Zuckerberg says he's not running for public office

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEWPORT, R.I. -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says his quest this year to visit every state he hadn't before is about building relationships, not politics. The 33-year-old billionaire wrote in a Facebook post that some users have asked if the trip means he's running for public office. Source
  • Revenge porn, self-harm videos among challenges Facebook moderators face, say leaked documents

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Leaked Facebook documents show how the social media company moderates issues such as hate speech, terrorism, pornography and self-harm on its platform, the Guardian reported, citing internal guidelines seen by the newspaper. New challenges such as "revenge porn" have overwhelmed Facebook's moderators, who often have just 10 seconds to make a decision, the Guardian said. Source
  • Thriving bobcats becoming backyard pests in urban areas

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CONCORD, N.H. -- As someone who has studied bobcats for almost four decades, wildlife ecologist John Litvaitis remembers many times returning from the field without spotting a single one of these solitary and shy creatures that often hunt at dusk. Source
  • Bevy of bobcats: Thriving animals poised as next urban pest

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CONCORD, N.H. -- As someone who has studied bobcats for almost four decades, wildlife ecologist John Litvaitis remembers many times returning from the field without spotting a single one of these solitary and shy creatures that often hunt at dusk. Source
  • NASA orders up urgent spacewalking repairs at space station

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA has ordered up urgent spacewalking repairs at the International Space Station. On Tuesday, two astronauts will venture out to replace a data relay box that broke over the weekend. Source
  • Ruins of 5,000-year-old city Mohenjo Daro at risk in Pakistan

    Tech & Science CTV News
    The centre of a powerful ancient civilisation, Mohenjo Daro was one of the world's earliest cities -- a Bronze Age metropolis boasting flush toilets and a water and waste system to rival many in modern Pakistan. Source