International Energy Agency 6.5 million people die every year from air pollution

That makes it the fourth-largest threat to human health after high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking.

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6.5 million people die every year from air pollution play

6.5 million people die every year from air pollution

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Air pollution has been declared one of the world’s largest threat to human health, claiming nearly 6.5 million lives every year.

That makes it the fourth-largest threat to human health after high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking.

A cautionary report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that around three million of the 6.5 million deaths are currently attributed to outdoor air pollution and 3.5 million are caused by household air pollution.

The report warned that while premature deaths due to household air pollution should fall to 2.9 million a year from 3.5 million by 2040, outdoor air pollution-related deaths could rise from 3 million to 4.5 million annually in that time.

play Air Pollution and Impacts on Women and Children's Health (nigeriacleancooking.org)

 

It said Asia will account for almost 90 percent of this increase.

The number of deaths attributed to air pollution will increase till 2040 unless energy policies are changed, the report said.

“Clean air is vital for good health. Yet despite growing recognition of this imperative, the problem of air pollution is far from solved in many countries, and the global health impacts risk intensifying in the decades to come,” the report said.

According to the IEA, unregulated or inefficient production and use of energy is currently the single most important man-made source of air pollutant emissions.

play Particulate matter, which can contain acids, metals, soil and dust particles, have been linked to lung cancer, strokes and heart disease, among other ill effects. (tunza.eco-generation.org)

 

It said eighty-five percent of hazardous particulate matter, for instance, comes from energy industry.

Particulate matter, which can contain acids, metals, soil and dust particles, have been linked to lung cancer, strokes and heart disease, among other ill effects, the report indicated.

The IEA believes governments worldwide must adopt new energy and air quality policies to save the situation.

The agency said these efforts would require an increase in total energy investment by 7 percent, or about $4.7 trillion, through 2040. This may cut air pollution-related deaths by more than 3 million a year.

“This is completely peanuts. With a seven percent increase you can save over three million lives,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told journalists in London.

“Clean air is a basic human right that most of the world’s population lacks,” Birol said. “We need to revise our approach to energy development so that communities are not forced to sacrifice clean air in return for economic growth,” he added.

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