Air Pollution Officially Kills More People Than HIV/AIDs

Even if every country imposes existing air-quality legislation, the death toll caused by air pollution is likely to double by 2050.

smoke-654072_1280Did you know? Mankind’s unsustainable habits have far-reaching – and deadly – effects. Sure, you were aware of the toll environmental pollution has on the oceans and wildlife but were you also aware how critical of an in issue air pollution has become?

Every year, 3.3 million people, worldwide, are killed prematurely by air pollution. And it gets worse: By the year 2050, even if every country imposes existing air-quality legislation, that number is likely to double.

Scientists estimate that the outdoor air quality is leading to millions of premature deaths – especially in east and south Asian countries.

In Asia, most of the air pollutants people inhale come from the burning of fuel for heating and cooking. The estimates do not include the number of deaths from indoor pollution, which is estimated to be another 3 million deaths a year, scientists say.

In the United States, the greatest impact is from traffic and power-generation pollution; in Europe, it is mainly from agricultural emissions due to the use of fertilizers, which produces ammonia.

The study, published in the journal Nature, details how millions of lives are cut short as a result of emissions of damaging microscopic particles present in the air which penetrate deep into the lungs.

As Alternet shares, researchers used computer models to estimate the health impacts of a range of outdoor air pollutants such as ozone and tiny particles less than 0.0025mm wide, which are known to exacerbate cardiovascular problems and lung disease.

A woman wearing a mask walk through a street covered by dense smog in Harbin, northern China. Credit: Kyodo News

A woman wearing a mask walk through a street covered by dense smog in Harbin, northern China.
Credit: Kyodo News

Said Dr. Jos Lelieveld of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, who led the study:

“The total number of people who die worldwide together from HIV/AIDS and malaria is 2.8 million per year. So that is half a million less than from air pollution, which is a very significant source of premature mortality.” 

According to the model, if pollution laws are not tightened and enforced, the mortality rate from outdoor air pollution could jump to a staggering 6.6 million deaths per year by 2050. Most of these fatalities would occur in Southeast Asia.

This means that the number of deaths that already occur from air pollution would double worldwide. If the growth in particulate matter is to be avoided, intensive control measures need to be implemented, especially in Asian countries.

“Our study clearly shows that it’s important to reduce pollution from residential energy use, especially in Asia,” said Dr. Lelieveld.

According to the researcher, some of the most dangerous air pollutants in the U.K. come from mixing traffic fumes with the agricultural pollutants, which causes reactive particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs.

Pollution is elevating and humans are not transitioning to renewable – and clean – energy sources at a fast enough pace. If you believe future generations deserve a healthy planet to live on, share this article to raise awareness. 

What are your thoughts? Comment below!

Source: The Independent

This article (Air Pollution Officially Kills More People Than HIV/AIDs) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and

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