Air Clean Up
Study Finds 10 Worst Countries for Pollution-Related Deaths
Jan 17 2020 Read 817 Times
A new study which has ranked the countries of the world by the number of pollution-related deaths among their populace has revealed that USA is the seventh deadliest nation for pollution on the planet. Part of the latest paper from the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP), the landmark study found that pollution was the number one environmental killer in 2017, responsible for a staggering 15% of all premature deaths.
Indeed, the findings show that you are three times more likely to die from pollution than from HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, while you’re 15 times more likely to succumb to contamination than to injuries sustained from war or other forms of violence. But it’s the US’s position inside the top 10 which is the biggest cause for concern, given the country’s relative prosperity and long-touted environmental credentials.
The tainted ten
Unsurprisingly, the Asian superpowers of India and China took the number one and two slots on the leader board, despite strides made in both to tackle their respective problems. Last year, New Delhi played host to the 2019 Conference and Exhibition on Emissions Monitoring, while China has poured more money into renewable energy sources and environmental measures than any other nation on the planet in recent times.
The rest of the 10 deadliest countries for pollution were taken up mostly by developing nations with high populations, though the inclusion of the USA was the conspicuous standout. The leader board is as follows:
- India – 2,326,771 premature deaths
- China – 1,865,566 premature deaths
- Nigeria – 279,318 premature deaths
- Indonesia – 232,974 premature deaths
- Pakistan – 223,836 premature deaths
- Bangladesh – 207,922 premature deaths
- United States of America – 196,390 premature deaths
- Russia – 118,687 premature deaths
- Ethiopia – 110,787 premature deaths
- Brazil – 109,438 premature deaths
Given that Donald Trump has endeavoured to undo the majority of environmental reforms introduced by his predecessor Barack Obama, it’s unsurprising that the US has slipped into the top 10. However, the fact that the results of Trump’s regressive policies won’t fully be seen for years or even decades signals that the worst may yet be ahead for American citizens.
Particulate matter a particular concern
With over 90% of the global population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution on a regular basis, it’s only logical that poor air quality is the biggest killer when it comes to contamination. Toxic airways are believed to be responsible for 3.4 million (or 40%) of the 8.3 million total deaths attributable to pollution worldwide.
Particulate matter (PM) is a uniquely damaging contaminant emitted by the exhausts of cars and other vehicles, as well as combusting fossil fuels in power plants and factories. But while our ability to monitoring PM concentrations has advanced significantly, the USA has rolled back a number of measures aimed at curbing emissions of the damaging substance.
“PM is responsible for most of the [American] deaths, and the Trump administration has gutted the process for setting and implementing standards,” explained Gretchen Goldman, an expert and prominent commentator on the subject. “Our political leaders should be working to make air cleaner and protect us from this huge public health threat which is killing people. Instead, we’ve seen the opposite; standards have been rolled back, scientists removed, and evidence ignored.”
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