More than 5.5 million people die prematurely in the world every year due to air pollution and more than half of those deaths occur in China and India, new research shows.
The analysis by researchers from Canada, the United States, China and India showed that India and China accounted for 55 per cent of these deaths. While about 1.6 million people died in China in 2013, 1.4 million died in India.
The study was presented by the researchers on Friday at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
While burning of coal has been cited as the biggest contributor to air pollution in China, the practice of burning wood, dung and similar sources of biomass for cooking and heating are the major contributors to poor air quality in India.
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The researchers said power plants, industrial manufacturing, vehicle exhaust and burning coal and wood all release small particles into the air that are dangerous to a person’s health.
The research 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, according to EurekAlert.