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Pollution kills 5.5 million people globally every year


According to a report released on Friday, about 5.5 million people around the world are dying prematurely every year from breathing polluted air, Philly reports.

The report stated that majority of those deaths are occurring in developing nations such as China and India, where factories and coal-fired power plants are necessary for the economic growth.

The research is being presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington.

The report stated that disease from air and household pollution is the No. 2 cause of death worldwide. Smoking is the No. 1 cause of death worldwide, stated the World Heath Organization.

The report used data from the year 2013. However, coauthor Dan Greenbaum, president of the nonprofit Health Effects Institute in Boston, noted that "these things don't change overnight."

In countries such as India and Africa, household pollution is caused by burning of stoves that burn coal, wood, and animal dung for cooking and heat, which cause the death of nearly one million people annually in China, and more than half a million in India.

China's air pollution has also marginally increased air pollution on the U.S. West Coast.

According to The Independent, Professor Michael Brauer, from the University of British Columbia in Canada, said, "Air pollution is the fourth highest risk factor for death globally and by far the leading environmental risk factor for disease.

"Reducing air pollution is an incredibly efficient way to improve the health of a population."

At the AAAS meeting, Greenbaum said, a Chinese scientist is set to present an analysis showing that "coal is by far the largest health burden, about 50 percent of the problem."

Report coauthor Qiao Ma, a doctoral student at the School of Environment at Tsinghua University in Beijing, stated that outdoor air pollution from coal was the cause of about 366,000 Chinese deaths in 2013.

According to Qiao Ma, between 990,000 and 1.3 million people there will die prematurely by 2030 in China, unless the targets to reduce pollution are introduced in the country.

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