Despite many people not considering air pollution to be a factor that significantly impacts their life spans, the crude fact is that it actually is. And not a minor one, but one of the big leaguers. According to a study from Canada, air pollution is the fourth worldwide leading cause of death.
Air pollution and your health
Coming in after high blood pressure, poor diet, and smoking, air pollution kills more people each year than unprotected sex and drug and alcohol abuse combined. Affecting us in the form of power plants, vehicle exhausts, use of fossil fuels, and manufacturing plants, air pollution is a danger for the modern world.
According to a new study from the University of British Columbia and presented at this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science, 5.5 million people die each year of factors caused by air pollution; these causes of death include strokes and cardiovascular diseases, bringing air pollution to the number one spot as the lead environmental killer worldwide.
The number of deaths per year will only grow over the next few years if nothing is done about it, as the researchers assure that reducing the levels of pollution will most certainly lead to a decline and to improve the population’s health.
China and India
As much as 55% of all the 3 million people are only from India and China. Only in 2013, 1.4 million people died in India and 1.6 in China because of air pollution. Just the pollution caused by burning coal killed 366,000 Chinese people in 2013.
According to a researcher from the Tsinghua University in Beijing, 2030 will see 990,000 extra deaths per year in China if nothing is to be done about it. Despite China using cleaner fuel sources and burning less coal than before, the air pollution levels are still a whopping 10 times higher than recommended by WHO.
But China isn’t the only one, as more than 85% of the world’s populations is living in areas that are exceeding WHO’s Air Quality Guideline.
In India, the majority in contact with the highest levels of air pollution consists of the poor people, as they are forced to burn coal, dung, and wood in their homes in order to stay warm and to heat their food.
Even in the United States, air pollution is the 13th leasing cause of death, killing around 80,000 people every year. Most susceptible are the very young and the very old, with studies even showing that pollution is responsible for giving a large number of unborn babies asthma.
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