It's Official: China Has World's Deadliest Pollution

By William Lee, September 28, 2016

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has compiled a list revealing the rate of deaths related to air pollution in individual countries in hopes of providing a wake up call to the issue and provoke a positive change in energy policy. 

The rankings place China in the top position by a considerable margin, with deaths numbering 1,032,833 in 2012, followed by India (621,138) and then Russia (140,851). These statistics change when looking at deaths per capita and China falls to 10th place (with 76 dead per 100,000).

A look at the top ten countries for overall deaths due to air pollution:

1. China — 1,032,833
2. India — 621,138
3. Russia — 140,851
4. Indonesia — 61,792
5. Pakistan — 59,241
6. Ukraine — 54,507
7. Nigeria — 46,750
8. Egypt — 43,531
9. United States — 48,043
10. Bangladesh — 37,449

And the rankings for deaths per 10,000 people:

1. Ukraine — 120
2. Bulgaria — 118
3. Belarus — 100
4. Russia — 98
5. Armenia — 92
6. Bosnia and Herzegovina — 92
7. Latvia — 91
8. Georgia — 90
9. Hungary — 82
10. China — 76

Despite deaths in China making up nearly a third of the total global figure, the alarming statistics show that 92 percent of the world’s population breathes air containing particulate levels far in excess of the safe limits set by the WHO.

These particulates, PM10 and PM2.5, are mostly a byproduct of fuel consumption, with cars, coal-burning power plants and waste burning facilities among the worst offenders. 

PM2.5 pollutants pose the biggest health risk as their incredibly small particulates enter the lungs and eventually the blood stream. This means that they pose a risk not only for respiratory, but also for cardiovascular diseases. These diseases include strokes, lung-cancer and ischaemic heart disease.

READ MORE: Cancer Claimed 2.8 Million Deaths in China in 2015

The WHO results are a bit surprising, as many air pollution-related deaths may have previously passed under the radar by mirroring the symptoms of other global epidemics like obesity or smoking. 

[Image via The Guardian]

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