In just a decade, it is reported that Delhi will have the record number of premature deaths due to air pollution of all major cities in the world. By 2025, less than a decade from now, nearly 32,000 people in Delhi will die because they breathed the polluted air. However, it is also reported that Kolkata will have the highest numbers of deaths by 2050, suggesting that trends won't change.
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Kolkata will see the number of deaths spike between 2025 and 2050, with about 55,000 due to air pollution, some 3,000 more than Delhi. Together with Mumbai, these three cities will top the list due to toxic chemicals and harmful particles like PM2.5 and 03 in the air.
Annually, 3.3 million people worldwide die prematurely from the effects of air pollution.
According to the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, that number could double to 6.6 million by 2050 if emissions aren't halted. In 2010, 75% of premature mortality was caused by air pollution in Asia. This equaled about 1.4 million people per year in China and 650,000 people in India.
According to the Times of India, Pakistan recorded the third highest amount of deaths, followed by Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Russia.
In the United States, 54,905 people died from inhaling polluted air that can be found in coal burning power stations. In the United Kingdom, 15,488 people died due to air pollution, a majority of which could be found in agriculture. Agricultural use of fertilizers can lead to more air pollution.
In Europe, Russia, Turkey and Japan, agriculture s the leading cause of poor air.
About three quarters of these deaths are the result of heart attacks and strokes.
Johannes Lelieveld, director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry told TOI that India's killer will be biofuel use for cooking and heating.
He said "Our study indicates that residential energy use is the leading source category, practiced by many people both in the urban and rural environment in India. It is an inefficient form of biofuel combustion that causes a lot of smoke and is the foremost source of premature mortality by both indoor and outdoor air pollution in Asia".
He also said that India, along with the rest of the world, needs to look at better alternatives for fuel:
"Also other forms of energy use with low quality fuels should receive attention. One option is to provide improved quality cook stoves, which will help reduce indoor and outdoor air pollution.
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Our study shows that the highest growth rates of outdoor air pollution worldwide are expected in India. It will be important to implement policies to prevent that such a scenario becomes a reality," Lelieveld told TOI.