5.5 million deaths a year because of polluted air
According to a new research from University of British Columbia in Canada, air pollution causes more deaths than other risk factors like malnutrition, obesity, alcohol and drug abuse, and unsafe sex. The Global Burden of Disease project puts it as the fourth greatest risk behind high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking.
In China, there are said to be about 1.6 million deaths a year; in India, it is roughly 1.3 million. This data is from 2013, the most recent year for which it is available.
Michael Brauer, from the University of British Columbia in Canada, said the statistics should make governments think hard about the scope of their anti-pollution policies.
They ought to spur greater ambition, he added.
"The trick here is to not take the 50 or 60 years that it took in the high income countries, and to really accelerate the process; and that's really where we think these statistics, the data, will come in handy," he told BBC News.
"In the US, we know that for every dollar spent on air pollution improvements, we can get between a $4-$30 benefit in terms of reduced health impacts."
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