China's Air Pollution Kills More Than 4000 People Each Day

First Posted: Aug 15, 2015 08:03 AM EDT

There's a reason that China is looking into clean energy, and that's because its air pollution is killing its population. A staggering 1.6 million Chinese a year are killed due to the polluted air each year.

"Air pollution is the greatest environmental disaster in the world today," said Richard Muller, Scientific Director of Berkeley Earth and co-author of the new paper, in a news release. "When I was last in Beijing, pollution was at the hazardous level; every hour of exposure reduced by life expectancy by 20 minutes. It's as if every man, woman and child smoked 1.5 cigarettes each hour."

Air pollution kills about 4,000 people each day in China, and accounts for 17 percent of all China's deaths. For 38 percent of the population, the average air that they breathe is unhealthy by U.S. standards.

The most harmful form of air pollution is PM2.5, which is particulate matter of 2.5 microns and smaller. These particulates penetrate deeply into lungs and can trigger heart attacks, stroke, lung cancer, and asthma.

"It's troubling that air pollution is killing so many and yet isn't on the radar for major environmental organizations in the U.S. or Europe," said Elizabeth Muller, Executive Director of Berkeley Earth. "Many of the same solutions that mitigate air pollution will simultaneously reduce China's contribution to global warming. We can save lives today and tomorrow."

The findings reveal the importance of developing solutions to curtail air pollution. Switching from coal to other forms of energy power, in particular, will be an important step forward for the country.

For the full report, visit this website.

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