Air pollution has been convicted for annually killing about 2 million people worldwide. The study estimated that 2.1 million deaths each year are linked with fine particulate matter, tiny particles that can get deep into the lungs and cause health problems.
“Air pollution is an important problem. It’s probably one of the most important environmental risk factors for health,” West said. The study suggests that improving air quality around the world would increase life expectancy for some,” said Jason West, an assistant professor of environmental sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Some recent studies have suggested that climate change was causing extra particles in the air we breathe. Even though research found that climate change did contribute 1,500 deaths to the toll, it wasn’t nearly a number significant enough to make a statement. Pollution and climate interact in several ways. Climate-related factors such as temperature and humidity can affect the reaction rates of particles in the air, which in turn determine the formation of pollutants; additionally, rainfall can affect accumulation of pollutants, the researchers said.
Most of the estimated 2 million global deaths likely occur in East and South Asia, which have large populations and severe air pollution. The new study had an advantage over previous work in that it did not rely on just one climate model, but instead included several. However, because the study used information from previous research on air pollution and health, the estimates are subject to the same uncertainties that characterized those previous studies.
The researchers used a number of climate models to estimate concentrations of air pollution around the world, in the years 1850 (the pre-industrial era) and 2000. Focusing on these two years allowed the researchers to determine what proportion of air pollution was human-caused (attributable to industrialization).
Breathing is something that humans do naturally during the day to stay alive. There is cause for alarm if air pollution is annually killing 2 million people worldwide.