Air pollution kills 4,000 people a day in China, representing 17 per cent of all deaths in the country, according to a shocking new report on air pollution.The report reveals that China’s smog problem, particularly in the east of the country, is even worse than previous estimates.
Breathing air in the country’s capital Beijing for just one day is the equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes, claims one of the report’s authors.
“Air pollution is the greatest environmental disaster in the world today,” says Richard Muller, Scientific Director of Berkeley Earth, coauthor of the report. “When I was last in Beijing, pollution was at the hazardous level; every hour of exposure reduced my life expectancy by 20 minutes. It’s as if every man, women, and child smoked 1.5 cigarettes each hour,” he said.
Previous reports have showed that air pollution in London is responsible for almost 6,000 deaths a year, with a report by King’ College London showing that a normal day’s exposure to air in the capital is the equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Worldwide, air pollution kills over three million people per year, which is more than AIDS, malaria, diabetes or tuberculosis, according to the report.
Elizabeth Muller, Executive Director of Berkeley Earth, said “It’s troubling that air pollution is killing so many and yet isn’t on the radar for major environmental organizations in the US or Europe.”