More than 5 million people around the world die from air pollution every year . Most of the deaths occur in Asia, especially India and China. In China , about 1.6 million die of polluted air every year, in India the number is about 1.3 million. 85% of the world’s population live in areas where air pollution is higher than normal.
Most of the air pollution comes from factories, traffic and burning fossil fuels to produce electricity. In large Asian cities like Beijing or Delhi, air pollution can reach 10 times the normal rate on any given day.
Breathing in polluted air is dangerous to a person’s health. Small particles emitted into the air can lead to heart diseases, lung cancer and strokes. Health experts claim that deaths resulting from polluted air are higher than from malnutrition or obesity. Scientists warn that the number of deaths will continue to rise if nothing is done to fight air pollution.
In developed countries laws have been passed to make air cleaner. In large cities air quality is monitored around the clock. In the developing world, on the other hand, governments have not done enough to protect the population from pollution.
Especially in China, where the country’s population is ageing, more and more older people are in danger of becoming ill due to air pollution. In many areas coal is used to cook and heat. In India, indoor pollution is widespread because people cook with wood or cow dung.
Health officials argue that moving to greener energy would have a positive impact on our health. Turning to renewable energy and using electric cars would undoubtedly help make our air cleaner.