As 95% of the planet’s population breathes unhealthy air, deaths related to contamination have become the 4th highest worldwide.
95% of the planet’s population breathes unhealthy air.
However, there are countries were long-term exposure to air pollution is contributing to many deaths, according to the annual State of the Global Air Report.
Just in 2016, over 6 million deaths were contributed to lung disease, lung cancer, heart attacks and strokes related to contamination, becoming the 4th highest cause of death worldwide after smoking, high blood pressure and a poor diet.
According to the study, Afghanistan, which is where most people die from pollution, has such a high death rate per 100,000 inhabitants from polluted skies that they are more likely to die from that than from insurgent attacks or strikes.
Pakistan, India, Nigeria, China, Saudi Arabia. Russia, Germany, U.K., United States, Japan, and Canada complete the list of most age-standarized deaths per 100,000 people attributed to pollution.
Pollution is not only for people on the outside
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 3 billion people on Earth cook and heat their homes using solid fuels, for example: wood, coal and crop wastes.
This, however, makes them vulnerable to the dangers, as the combination of incomplete combustion and lack of ventilation leads to very high levels of exposure to dangerous particles.
Just in 2016, a total of 2.45 billion people –approximately one in three global citizens– were exposed to household pollution from the use of solid fuels.
According to the State of Global Air Report, India and China — with 43% and 30%, respectively, of their populations using solid fuels — had the largest numbers of people exposed to household air pollution in 2016: 560 million in India and 416 million in China.
Age-standardized deaths per 100,000 people attributable to air pollution (2016):
Afghanistan | 406
Pakistan | 207
India | 195
Nigeria | 150
China | 117
Saudi Arabia | 95