Air pollution caused 135000 deaths in Pakistan in 2015

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  • Between 1990 and 2015, India, Bangladesh saw their pollution-caused deaths up by over 50%

A recent study on global air pollution claims that the worsening air pollution in Pakistan has caused at least 135,000 premature deaths in 2015.

A report released by the US-based Health Effects Institute (HEI) in cooperation with the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), indicated that increase in the level of air pollution caused 4.2 million deaths globally in  2015. The air pollution, thus, becomes the fifth highest cause of death among all health risks, including smoking, diet, and high blood pressure.

This “Global State of Air 2017” report on exposure to air pollution and related diseases, states that the amount of fine dust particulate matters in the air, known as PM2.5, has risen sharply, responsible for early deaths in Pakistan.

This report also analyses the data on air pollution, which highlights that 92 per cent of the world’s population is living in an atmosphere with polluted air.

HEI President Dan Greenbaum said that they were seeing increasing air pollution problems worldwide, and this new report explained in detail that why the air pollution was a major contributor to early deaths.  “The trends, we reported, showed that we had seen progress in some parts of the world, but serious challenges are still to be met,” he said.

A statement issued by the HEI stated that although there were many parts of the world where air pollution had grown worse, but there had also been improvements in the US and Europe. “The US Clean Air Act and actions by the European Commission had made substantial progress in reduction of population exposure to PM pollution since 1990,” it stated, adding that “The US has experienced a reduction of about 27 per cent in average annual population exposures to fine particulate matter with smaller declines in Europe. Yet some 88,000 Americans and 258,000 Europeans still face risks of dying early due to PM levels today.”

The report said that the highest concentrations of combustion-related fine particulate matter were in South and Southeast Asia, China, Central and Western Sub-Saharan Africa in 2015, where household solid fuel use, coal-fired power plants, transportation, and open burning of agricultural and other wastes were among the major contributors to outdoor air pollution.

As the report stated that India and China contributed half of the global premature deaths from air pollution, but China’s rate of death was stabilising while India’s increasing alarmingly. It stated that in India 133,000 more deaths occurred in 2015 as compared to 2010, while in China the increase was only 10,000 over the same period. Between 1990 and 2015, India and Bangladesh saw their pollution-caused deaths up by more than 50 percent.

In contrast to the emerging Asian giants, where air quality is generally poor and growing worse with time, Russia, Indonesia, the European Union, Japan, Brazil, and the United States have healthy air quality, which is getting even better. In other countries, there’s been much improvement: Nigeria saw a remarkable 34pc drop in particulate-related mortality between 2010 and 2015.