Globally two million deaths occur every year by the ill effects of outdoor air pollution caused by humans, claims a recent study by international scientists. This figure is more prominently seen in the Southern and the Eastern parts of Asia.
According to the study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters , global climatic changes resulting in air pollution has been minimalistic.
Almost 2.1 million people die globally by inhaling the fine particulate matter called PM2.5s each year. This tiny sooty particles are suspended in the air generated by power plants, coal fires and Diesel engines.
An estimation of approximately 470,000 people dying each year by increased levels of ozone, created when vehicle exhaust gases react with oxygen in the outdoor atmosphere by human causes has been confirmed in the study.
Study by Jason West:
Recent air pollution study co-author, Jason West, from the University of North Carolina, said,”Our estimates make outdoor air pollution among the most important environmental risk factors for health. Many of these deaths are estimated to occur in East Asia and South Asia, where population is high and air pollution is severe,”
Though change in climate may aggravate the ill effects of air pollution causing increased number of deaths globally, the study suggests that the change in climate results in a very small proportion of current deaths caused by air pollution.
The number of deaths linked with the changes in the climate is relatively small in this changing industrial era, claims the study published in journal Environmental Research Letters.
Change in climate-cause of air pollution?
Climate change can cause varying effects of air pollution. Locally the air pollution may be caused by the varying changes in climatic conditions like temperature and humidity.
Every year since 1850, the change in climate results in almost 1500 deaths caused due to increased ozone levels and 2200 deaths resulting in the intake of PM2.5 every year.
Temperature and humidity play major roles in determining the lifetime of a pollutant and its formation. Rainfall on the other hand can determine the time a particular pollutant takes to accumulate on a human body.
Formation of ozone and other fine particulate matter can be caused by the reaction of organic compounds with the atmosphere. The rise in the temperature can increase the emissions to a great extent.
Thus varying effects of the climatic changes results in deaths caused by air pollution, but the number is still significantly on a lower side.
Jason West said, “Very few studies have attempted to estimate the effects of past climate change on air quality and health. We found that the effects of past climate change are likely to be a very small component of the overall effect of air pollution,”.
Climate models were used by scientists to simulate the ozone and the PM2.5 concentration in the atmosphere. A total of 14 models simulated levels of ozone and six models simulated levels of PM2.5.
Epidemiological studies were then used to assess how the levels related to worldwide death rates.