Paris - Air pollution causes 4.5 million premature deaths each year worldwide. This is the result of calculations published today by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air () and Greenpeace Southeast Asia. At the same time, air pollution causes annual costs of 2.9 trillion dollars (about 2.7 trillion euros) worldwide.
When calculating the number of deaths, the effect of particles and other pollutants in the Use of fossil fuels arise. Previously published scientific findings are included. For China alone, the number of deaths is given as 1.8 million, for India with 1 million.
In Germany, good 80,000 people die prematurely every year from air pollution, about twice as many as in France, for example or Great Britain. For the European Union as whole number of 398,000 deaths is cited annually, for the USA 230,000. The mean value of 3 calculated scenarios is taken into account.
The numbers are slightly above estimates by the World Health Organization (), which assumes 4.2 million deaths annually due to air pollution. Heart diseases, strokes, lung cancer and respiratory diseases, especially in children, are given as specific causes of death in these cases. According to the study, people who live in New Delhi are exposed to air pollution as if they were smoking 10 cigarettes day.
The worldwide cost of air pollution per day was eight billion dollars (about 7.3 billion dollars Euro). This corresponds to around 3.3% of global economic output. The costs are particularly high in China at $ 900 billion annually, in the USA at $ 610 billion and in India at $ 150 billion. Costs of 140 billion dollars are calculated for Germany, also considerably more than in France and Great Britain.
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"Air pollution from fossil fuels threatens our health and our economy", explained Greenpeace expert Minwoo Son. The solution is simple: "Switch to renewable energies, move away from diesel and gasoline engines and expand public transport." p>
According to the study, by far the most serious health effects result from fine dust, which is created by burning fossil fuels. Other pollutants are nitrogen dioxide and ozone.
29% of all lung cancer cases worldwide are attributed to air pollution, the authors cite estimates of the WHO, as well as around 1/4 of deaths from heart disease and stroke.
“When will it no longer be acceptable to shorten people's lives by using fossil fuels?” said the head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (), Johan Rockström.