China: Air Pollution Kills 1.6 Million People Every Year

Breathing in China has become an increasingly dangerous activity. The country’s toxic air problem is responsible for 4,000 deaths a day, mounting up to a staggering 1.6 million every year. This equates to 17% of the total deaths in China.

You Need To Breathe To Survive, But It Can Also Cost You Your Life

Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California-Berkeley has described the hazardous levels of pollution while he was in Beijing in a recent press release. Every hour of outdoor exposure reduced his life expectancy by 20 minutes. In his own words: “it’s as if every man, woman, and child smoked 1.5 cigarettes each hour.”

Richard Muller, along with physicist and co – worker Robert Rohde have authorized a new paper in the journal PLOS that takes on the pollution problem in China and explores the deadly eventual consequences for human health.

Is There A Solution To The Pollution?

Since China gets about 64% of its primary energy from coal, the country’s authorities have increased public pressure to adopt air quality standards building monitoring stations and shuttering some of its most polluting coal power plants.

The 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Beijing, have led the country’s officials to speed up the fight against pollution taking old vehicles off the streets of Beijing and closing two coal-fired power plants.

Concerns For The U.S?

In the U.S, the highest level of particle pollution is located in Fresno-Madera, California. The American Lung Association claims that the area hits unhealthy heights 47 days a year, but as Rohde told the Associated Press (AP), “99.9 percent of the eastern half of China has a higher annual average for small particle haze than Madera.”

According to a 2013 study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 200,000 early deaths are caused by air pollution in the U.S, which is thought to be the tenth most problematic risk factor for early death, after causes such as smoking and a poor diet.

In China, air pollution is only the fourth most common risk factor for death after diet, high blood pressure and smoking.

Why Should I Care?

China’s air pollution problem is causing citizens to be at an increasingly great heath risk. They may or may not live in the same country as you, but they matter. What’s more, a study published this week in the Nature Geoscience journal says that ozone from China has been traveling towards the western U.S. This is a global concern that requires everyone to help, before it’s too late.


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