Air Pollution Deaths Will Double By 2050, Study Suggests

Posted: Sep 16 2015, 9:49pm CDT | by , Updated: Sep 16 2015, 11:26pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Air Pollution Could Kill 6.6 Million People Each Year by 2050, Study Suggests
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Globally, 3 million people die due to air pollution right now. Air pollution could kill 6.6 million people each year by 2050, according to the study

Millions of people around the world are dying due to air pollution. According to a latest study, air pollution could kill a staggering 6.6 million people per year by the 2050 if nothing is done to improve the air quality.

Currently, more than 3 million people die worldwide due to excessive exposure to air pollution, meaning deaths could double from air pollution over the next 35 years and it will emerge as one of the major causes of premature deaths.

“The total number of deaths due to HIV and malaria is 2.8 million per year,” said Jos Lelieveld, professor at Max Planck Institute and lead author of the study. “That’s a half a million less than the number of people who die from air pollution globally.”

Air pollution is affecting predominantly Asia. China and India have the most number of the premature deaths since ozone and toxic particles produced by air pollution are contributing in heart problem, respiratory disease and lung cancer.

Automobiles and industries are imagined to be the main contributors of air pollution. Contrary to the popular belief, the residential energy emissions such as fuels used from cooking and heating, are having the biggest impact on air quality worldwide.

“When most people think of outdoor air pollution, they tend to think of traffic and industry having the largest impact on global premature morality, not residential energy emissions and agriculture.” Lelieveld said.

Agriculture is the second dominant cause to the premature deaths from air pollution. It is having biggest impact on Eastern United States, Europe, Russia, Turkey, Korea and Japan. The other contributors are power generation, industry, biomass burning and land traffic, together causing nearly one-third of all air population morality. Highest per capita mortality is found in Western Pacific region, followed by Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asia, according to the study.

Research suggests “if the projected increase in mortality attributable to air pollution is to be avoided, intensive control quality measures will be needed, particularly in South and East Asia.”

The strategies have to be crafted and implemented on county by county basis. The result will be an improved air quality which can save more than 1 million lives each year.

“You can’t ask people to stop eating and cooking but you can provide better technology,” said Lelieveld. “There are projects and they are quite energy and cost efficient. The most difficult thing is acceptance.”

The study was published in Journal Nature.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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