Pollution kills more than 5 million people annually particularly high in South and East Asia

The utilization of fossil fuels in industry, power generation, and transportation leads to air pollution, contributing to over 5 million annual deaths worldwide. A study featured in “The BMJ” on the brink of the Climate Summit (Cop28) in Dubai and reported by the British newspaper “Daily Mail” underscores that countries, notably China and India, still relying on coal for energy production experience the highest death rates.

The study emphasizes the imperative shift from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy sources as a means to alleviate the detrimental impact of air pollution, potentially saving numerous lives and combating global warming. These findings align with existing knowledge about the lethal consequences of polluted air, such as cardiovascular disease, asthma, and lung cancer.

Conducted by an international team of experts, including British epidemiologist Andy Haines at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the study reveals that the mortality attributed to air pollution from fossil fuel use exceeds previous estimates. The team advocates for phasing out fossil fuels as a crucial intervention for enhancing health and preserving lives.

The study notes that air pollution-related deaths are notably elevated in South and East Asia, owing to both high pollution levels and population density.

The hazardous outdoor air pollutants encompass ozone (O3), originating from interactions between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds emitted by vehicles and industrial processes. At ground level, ozone contributes to city smog and can induce respiratory issues, especially in individuals with lung conditions like asthma.

Another detrimental pollutant is PM2.5, comprising small particles or droplets with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, invisible to the naked eye and easily inhalable. While inhaling PM2.5 is linked to asthma, lung and heart diseases, and symptoms of depression, the full extent of its health effects is yet to be fully understood.

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