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Air Pollution = Huge Threat To Human Life In China

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Fresh air is missing as a core part of life in areas of China. Instead, air that creates illness and hastens death is dominant. China is not alone in terms of air pollution and water pollution. (See this story or this one on the EU and this one on the US, for example.)

As a case of how bad it can get, however, China is a frightening example. The problems with air pollution in China are actually global problems, as it spreads across countries and even oceans.

School children wear or need to wear masks. Fashionably masked women incorporate masks into their wardrobes. For years, the World Health Organization showed an air-quality score of particulate matter in China well above levels deemed safe.

China air pollution 1

A new study calls for immediate attention. “The 2016 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), found that despite efforts to limit future emissions, the number of premature deaths linked to air pollution will climb over the next two decades unless more aggressive targets are set.”


Specifics came to light in Special Report 20, Burden of Disease Attributable to Coal-Burning and Other Major Sources of Air Pollution in China. It is “the first comprehensive assessment of the current and predicted burdens of disease attributable to coal-burning and other major sources of particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5) in China at the national and provincial levels.”

It was supported and initiated by the Global Burden of Disease – Major Air Pollution Sources (GDB MAPS) project, an international collaboration of Tsinghua University, the Health Effects Institute, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), and the University of British Columbia.

China air pollution 2

“The GBD is the largest and most comprehensive effort to date to measure epidemiological levels and trends worldwide,” said Zhou Maigeng, Deputy Director of the National Center for Chronic and Non-communicable Disease Control and Prevention of the China Center for Disease Control. Maigeng is the lead author of the GBD 2013 Chinese analysis published in the British medical journal The Lancet in October 2015.

Maigeng points out, “Based on Chinese data, we found that outdoor air pollution was the 5th leading cause of premature death in China in 2013.”

Business Green notes, “Under each scenario average PM 2.5 levels are expected to fall as clean technologies become more widespread. But the report also warns the impact on public health could still worsen over the coming decade.”

Photo by leniners (some rights reserved) and charts via Burden Of Disease From Coal-Burning and Other Air Pollution Sources in China

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