Air pollution kills 10 million people every year

Source: Reuters (2013)

Our toxic air

New measurements of global atmospheric chemistry obtained from satellite data has improved our understanding of the global spread of air pollutants. And we know from before that ozone and fine particulate matter increases the likelihood of diseases and deaths. In a new study researchers estimate that the effects of particle pollutants killed 3.15 million individuals and ozone related mortality revealed a total estimate of 3.30 million people dying prematurely in 2010. An additional 3.54 million deaths per year are attributed to indoor air pollution caused by the use of solid fuels such as coal.

Worst in mega-cities in Asia

Air pollution hot spots are found in large cities, especially those in India and China. Air pollution is one of the top causes of death in China, no wonder the Chinese now want gas masks to outside. Many Chinese kids have never seen stars due to the constant smog and many get lung cancer. Pollution comes from a number of different sectors such as energy (CO2, SO2, NOx), agriculture (ammonia), traffic and natural sources such as dirt and dust. The extent of air pollution, globally, is now so massive that it is very unlikely governments are willing to pay for the societal costs of environmental damage "externalised" by industry. Especially since the global economy shows signs of deflation. But perhaps if we are lucky a downturn in economic activity could decrease pollution levels, of course this is not a solution we wish for but the planet is full, there is no more room for expansion. If we are such a clever species that we claim to be we should have realised this a long time ago and changed our behaviour, instead we are now reaching limits. And I'm afraid the outcome wont be pretty. 


Out of the ashes into the fire

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