More than 95% of world's population breathe risky air, major study finds

Indian commuters make their way through heavy smog in Amritsar in November 2017

Ozone, a harmful gas that contributes to outdoor pollution, was listed separately and tied to 234,000 deaths from chronic lung disease. Indoor air pollution can also affect air quality in the surrounding area, with this effect contributing to one in four pollution deaths in India and almost one in five in China.

Diesel fuel is a leading cause of air pollution in some rich countries, including the United Kingdom, but in poorer countries the often decrepit state of many vehicles means petrol-driven engines can be just as bad in their outputs, especially of the fine particulate matter blamed for millions of deaths a year. Air pollution is said to the fourth-largest cause of death on earth. In 2014, just 92 percent of the world's population was living in places where the WHO's recommended air quality levels were not met.

The number of people exposed to indoor air pollution from burning solid fuels has fallen from an estimated 3.6 billion around the world in 1990 to about 2.4 billion today, despite a rising population.

Most live in low- and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa, and face a double burden: exposure to both indoor and outdoor air pollution.

Overall, particle pollution levels are slightly lower in our state compared to previous year, meaning there's less pollution caused by coal-fired power plants, diesel emissions, wildfires and wood-burning devices.

Air pollution is the leading environmental cause of death worldwide according to the State of Global Air 2018, the annual report and interactive website published by the Health Effects Institute (HEI).

The Health Effects Institute found that 24,231 deaths in the United Kingdom in 2015 could be attributed to air pollution, and increase of 3.4 per cent since 2010.

The analysis found that China and India together were responsible for over half of the total global attributable deaths. The report also took into account those exposed to the burning of solid fuels in their homes, typically used for cooking or heating their houses, resulting in indoor air pollution.

In China in 2013, the leading source contribution to deaths attributable to PM2.5 was industrial coal; transportation followed as a close second. While China has been making efforts to cut down on air pollution, the situation in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is worse as pollution levels continue to rise since 2010.

The report states that residential biomass burning was the largest individual contributor to disease burden in India.

Researchers from the Health Effects Institute (HEI) in the U.S. used estimated the numbers of people exposed to air polluted above the levels deemed safe by the World Health Organisation using new satellite data.

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