A recent study which included scientists from the US, China and India concluded that 5.5 million people die prematurely to air pollution. 50% of these air pollution related deaths happen in China and India, two of the fastest growing economies. The findings will be presented at an American Association for Advancement of Science meeting which reveals that air pollution killed 1.6 million persons in China and another 1.4 million in India in 2013.
The study took risk factors which included air pollution from 188 countries between 1990 and 2013. The study illustrates the length countries will have to go to improve the quality of the air their citizens breathe.
Michael Brauer, a researcher from the University of British Columbia, reveals that air pollution happens to be the fourth highest risk factor for mortality globally.
The study also concluded unless drastic measures are not taken to lower future emissions, the number of premature deaths due to air pollution will increase in the coming 20 years.
.China and India are the sorest spots in the whole report. In China, the major factor has been particle emission from burning coal. Burning coal alone contributes to more than 360,000 deaths every year.
In India, more deaths are caused by indoor pollution caused by the habit of burning wood, dung, crop residues and other materials for cooking and heating. With one of the fastest growing economy, India runs the risk of getting its air even more polluted in future.
Asia has countries with large populations, and the air is heavily polluted. Trends hint that the air quality in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India are going to worsen.
China is trying to restrict coal combustion and emissions in future it is facing another grave problem. China will have a steadily aging population. Aging populations are more susceptible to illness caused by air pollution. Trends already hint that there is a prevalence of chronic diseases like lung disease and cancer and it is caused by air pollution.
Time is fast running out, and the health angle of air pollution is most worrying. Aggressive policies are urgently needed to reduce the emissions from coal combustion and other sectors.
The researchers also commended the lawmakers in US, Europe, Canada and Japan and their predecessors and should be credited with curbing pollution in a major way. If these countries can do, so can fast growing economies like China and India. A firm political will can accomplish this.