Heavily polluted air caused over 5.5 million premature deaths around the world in 2013, according to findings revealed at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington D.C. in February.
The world’s two most populous countries, China (1.6 million deaths) and India (1.4 million deaths), accounted for more than half of global air pollution deaths in 2013. Even though China and India come under intense scrutiny due to smog-shrouded cities and the sheer number of pollution-related deaths, things are not much better in Europe.
An OECD report examining the health impact of ambient pollution found that Hungary’s per capita death rate is almost as bad as China’s. In 2013, 937.6 people perished in Hungary due to exposure to ambient particulate matter and ozone pollution per million inhabitants.
In China, the number was slightly higher, 937.6. Greece and Slovakia also had high death rates with 744.2 and 705.7 per million inhabitants, respectively.
Italy also had a higher toll than India in 2013: 568.6 deaths per million compared to 565.4 per million. Air pollution is the fourth-highest risk factor for death across the world and it contributes to heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, bronchitis and other conditions.
This chart shows deaths from ambient particulate matter and ozone pollution per million inhabitants.
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