65% Of Air Pollution Deaths Occur In Asia: WHO Study

65% Of Air Pollution Deaths Occur In Asia: WHO Study

Health & Medicine
December 17, 2012

A new global study ranks air pollution as one of the top 10 killers in the world, with 65 percent of the air pollution deaths occurring in Asia.

AsianScientist (Dec. 17, 2012) – A new global study ranks air pollution as one of the top 10 killers in the world, with 65 percent of the air pollution deaths occurring in Asia.

The findings of the new Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD) were released at a public event at the Royal Society of London on Friday.

The launch coincides with the publication in The Lancet of seven original research articles and eight commentaries describing the findings.

Based on the latest tally, air pollution causes 3.2 million deaths worldwide, a whopping 300 percent increase from the 800,000 estimate in 2000. The new estimates of particulate air pollution are based on ground-level measurements, satellite remote sensing, and global chemical transport models to capture population exposure.

In South Asia, air pollution has been ranked as the sixth most dangerous killer, just below blood pressure, tobacco smoking, indoor air pollution, poor intake of fruits, and diabetes.

Outdoor air pollution is a leveler that makes everyone – rich or poor – vulnerable, says The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) based in New Delhi, India,

“This GBD count on air pollution and its health risks must trigger urgent, aggressive, and most stringent action in India to curb air pollution to protect public health. India cannot afford to enhance health risk at a time when much of its economic growth and motorization are yet to happen,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, CSE executive director of research and advocacy and head of its air pollution unit.

The GBD estimates that over 2.1 million premature deaths and 52 million years of healthy life lost in 2010 are due to fine particle air pollution in Asia.

1.2 million deaths occurred in East Asia which is in throes of high level of economic growth and motorization, and 712,000 deaths occurred in South Asia which is at the take-off stage.

These figures are much higher than the combined toll of 400,000 in EU 27, Eastern Europe, and Russia.

The CSE recommends that National Ambient Air Quality Standards be legally binding across India. Better fuel quality and in-use vehicle management could also cut the health impact of motorization, it says.

India must also control and cut the explosive increase in vehicle numbers by scaling up public transport, non-motorized transport, and compact city planning, while also cleaning up critically polluted areas, it adds.

The latest GBD results were produced by more than 450 global experts and partner institutions including the World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Tokyo.

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Source: CSE India; Photo: ribarnica/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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