In 2010 the Global Burden of Disease Study was released, an ambitious attempt to describe the global distribution and causes of a wide array of major diseases, injuries, and health risk factors.
Those results have now been broken down into individual countries, for presentation at international conferences, with the hope of eliciting a stronger response from leaders of the countries.
Robert O’Keefe, the vice president of the Health Effects Institute, told the New York Times that that they “have been rolling out the India- and China-specific numbers, as they speak more directly to national leaders than regional numbers .”
According to the new figures air pollution in China contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010; this is the equivalent of losing 25 million healthy years of life.
Related article: The Beijing Syndrome: China Begins to Care for the Environment
Air pollution, or ‘ambient particulate matter pollution’ as it is referred to in the study, was found to be the fourth most common cause of death in China, with dietary risks, high blood pressure, and smoking all topping it. In the whole world air pollution was the seventh most effective cause of death, accounting for 3.2 million deaths in 2010.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development warned last month that “urban air pollution is set to become the top environmental cause of mortality worldwide by 2050, ahead of dirty water and lack of sanitation,” with most of the deaths occurring in China and India.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com