Pollution In China Kills Thousands Every Day Of The Year23 Aug 2015 |
Roughly 17% of all annual deaths in China are the result (to some degree) of the high levels of pollution that are now commonplace there, according to new research from Berkeley Earth. Altogether, more than 1.6 million people in China die every year as a result of exposure to air pollution.
That new research also found that roughly a third of the population in China breathes air that is considered to be unhealthy (by American standards). The new findings are detailed in a paper published in PLOS ONE.
The findings are the result of the analysis of 4 months of measurements taken at 1500 different locations throughout the country -- measurements focused on particulate pollution smaller than 2.5 microns in size, which is associated with various health problems. The research found that most of this pollution is (unsurprisingly) associated with coal-fired power plant emissions.
“Air pollution is the greatest environmental disaster in the world today,” stated researcher Richard Muller, also the scientific director of Berkeley Earth. “When I was last in Beijing, pollution was at the hazardous level; every hour of exposure reduced my life expectancy by 20 minutes. It’s as if every man, woman, and child smoked 1.5 cigarettes each hour."
“Exposure to air pollution has been directly linked to worsening respiratory disease, and not just in asthmatics. Pollution has a direct impact, there is no question. We’re seeing a rise in childhood asthma and adult onset asthma too, and increases in COPD, which is becoming a tremendous problem in this country. People are developing it who never smoked, or never had family members who smoked.”