MONITORING REPORT ISB: Air pollution is killing 3.3 million people a year worldwide, reveals a new study that includes this surprise: Farming plays a large role in smog and soot deaths in industrial nations.
Scientists in Germany, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia and Harvard University calculated the most detailed estimates yet of the toll of air pollution, looking at what caused it. The study also projects that if trends dont change, the yearly death total will double to about 6.6 million a year by 2050.
About three quarters of the deaths are from strokes and heart attacks, said lead author Jos Lelieveld at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany.
The findings are similar to other less detailed pollution death estimates, experts said.
“About 6 percent of all global deaths each year occur prematurely due to exposure to ambient air pollution. This number is higher than most experts would have expected, say, 10 years ago,” said Jason West, a University of North Carolina environmental sciences professor who wasnt part of the study but praised it.
Air pollution kills more than HIV and malaria combined, Lelieveld said.
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