Over Half of World's Pollution Deaths in China, India

  • Over Half of World's Pollution Deaths in China, India

Over Half of World's Pollution Deaths in China, India

India accounts for the highest number of premature deaths due to ozone pollution, its toll 13 times higher than Bangladesh's, and 21 times higher than Pakistan's.

The report, compiled by the Health Effects Institute and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, warned that India could even outpace China in terms of premature deaths linked to PM2.5, a microscopic particle that floats on air and lodges deep in the lungs to cause lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and heart disease.

Eighteen groups consisting of over 260 inspectors will be dispatched to 18 cities in north China including Beijing, Tianjin and Taiyuan, according to the ministry.

Such an increase in air pollution and the role of India in the contribution towards it, prompts the question - what are the reasons for such drastic numbers?

China alone burns 47 per cent of the world's coal. An increase in vehicle traffic, emissions from coal-fired power plants and other industrial facilities, and fires fueled by wood and dung contribute to the problem.

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The joint report, published on Tuesday by two US-based health research institutes, said that almost 1.1 million people apparently die each year as a result of exposure to India's polluted air.

In 2013, China introduced a four-tier air pollution warning system, according to which, a red alert is issued when heavy smog lasts for more than three days, an orange alert for three days of smog, a yellow for two, and a blue for one.

The report also found that "92 percent of the world's population live in areas with unhealthy air". With so many people dying early or falling ill and losing productive years due to particulate and ozone pollution, it is a state of health emergency.

Research into the effect of high pollution levels on cyclists in cities across the world has highlighted those places where the health benefits of just 30 minutes of cycling are outweighed by the negative effects of breathing bad air.

Although there are many parts of the world where air pollution has grown worse, there has also been improvement in the United States and Europe, the study said. "The U.S. Clean Air Act and actions by the European Commission have made substantial progress in reducing people exposed to PM since 1990", the report read.