Air Pollution Linked with Increasing Mortality Rate

Researchers establish link between air pollution and the increasing mortality rate in urban areas, according to a new study published in March 2018.

A study found that 153 million premature deaths linked to air pollution can be avoided, by reducing fossil fuel emissions. Researchers predict that lives can be saved if countries agree to reduce carbon emissions and limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Asia and Africa will benefit the most from the reduced emissions. They revealed that Kolkata and Delhi lead the list of cities that would benefit the most from emissions cuts and could potentially save up to 4.4 million lives. Thirteen other cities in Asia or Africa could avoid over 1 million premature deaths, each. While, around 100,000 potential deaths could be avoided in over 80 additional cities.

The study also showed that Moscow, Mexico City, Sao Paolo, Los Angeles, Puebla, and New York cities– each could potentially avoid between 320,000 and 120,000 premature deaths.

“The lowest-cost approach only looks at how much it will cost to transform the energy sector. It ignores the human cost of more than 150 million lost lives, or the fact that slashing emissions in the near term will reduce long-term climate risk and avoid the need to rely on future carbon dioxide removal. That’s a very risky strategy, like buying something on credit and assuming you’ll someday have a big enough income to pay it all back.” said Drew Shindell, lead author of the study.

Researchers calculated impacts of pollution exposure under each scenario on human health. “Since air pollution is something we understand very well and have extensive historical data on, we can say with relatively high certainty how many people will die in a given city under each scenario. Hopefully, this information will help policymakers and the public grasp the benefits of accelerating carbon reductions in the near term, in a way that really hits home.” Shindell concluded.

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