At 2.5m, India & China had 50% of world foul air deaths

Pablo Tucker
April 5, 2019

"Worldwide, air pollution is responsible for more deaths than many better-known risk factors such as malnutrition, alcohol use, and physical inactivity", said the report".

The life expectancy of a child born today could be reduced by an average of 20 months due to health damage caused by air pollution, researchers say.

The analysis found long-term exposure to indoor and outdoor pollution contributed to nearly five million deaths in 2017, with fatalities resulting from stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer and chronic lung disease. "The largest numbers of deaths were in India (482,000) where 60% of the population cooks with solid fuels, followed by China (271,000) where 32% of the population does".

Greenstone said that if pollution in China can be reduced to the World Health Organization guideline, then "the Chinese people would gain on average 3.9 years of life expectancy".


The State of Global Air 2019 annual report and accompanying interactive website are designed and implemented by the Health Effects Institute in cooperation with the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Texas - Austin.

The study titled "State of Global Air 2019" reported that the life on average of a South Asian child growing up in current high levels of air pollution will be shortened by two years and six months, while the global life expectancy loss is 20 months. But the bulk of the population in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, India, and China have been exposed to levels of PM2.5 that are well above the WHO's warning levels - the "Interim target" of 35 ug/m^3.

Meanwhile, for the first time, this year's report and website include worldwide estimates of the effect of air pollution on how long people live, or life expectancy. "They have kept on pursuing this, they have dispatched government officials to these places to enforce, and air pollution has begun to turn a corner in China", he said.

Alastair Harper, the head of campaigns and advocacy at Unicef UK, which has warned repeatedly of the threat to children's health, said: "This adds to a bleak picture of how polluted air impacts the health of society's most vulnerable groups, particularly children".


"(The report) is a reminder to us indicating that our efforts and actions to reduce the invisible killer, i.e., air pollution are not enough, and we need to do much more than already planned and done", Pujarini Sen, a Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace India, said.

Globally, there has been progress: the proportion of people cooking with solid fuels has declined as economies develop.

While around 82% of the disease burden attributable to air pollution stems from chronic non-communicable diseases, it also contributes to communicable disease.

As per SoGA's site, "It offers most recent information and analysis on levels and trends in air quality and health globally".


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