Air pollution-related deaths rise in Bangladesh: Study

‘92pc of global population lives in areas with unhealthy air’

17 February, 2017 12:00 AM printer

Air pollution-related deaths 
rise in Bangladesh: Study

The number of air pollution-related deaths has increased in Bangladesh, says a new report -- the State of Global Air 2017 -- prepared by the US-based Health Effects Institute (HEI), reports UNB.

The report released on Tuesday reveals that India and Bangladesh experienced some of the largest increases in particulate matter (PM) 2.5-attributable deaths on the order of 50 percent to 60 percent. India now approaches China in the number of deaths attributable to PM 2.5.

The report finds that 92 percent of the world’s population lives in areas with unhealthy air as air pollution is the 5th highest cause of death among all health risks, including smoking, diet, and high blood pressure.

The new estimates of the global burden of disease (GBD) paint a grim picture for India. Globally, air pollution is estimated to cause more than 4.2 million early deaths—of these, 1.1 million deaths occur in India alone while 0.12 million in Bangladesh.

India now nearly equals China which scores the highest number of early deaths due to PM2.5. Worse, India now tops the dubious list of highest number of early deaths due to ozone pollution. In South Asia, ozone deaths in India are 13 times higher than in Bangladesh and 21 higher than in Pakistan. Ozone-attributable deaths in India are 107,800 people while 7,800 in Bangladesh.

The report shows that the rate of increase in early deaths in India is quite scary. While early deaths related to PM2.5 in China have increased by 17.22 percent since 1990, in India these have increased by 48 percent. While early deaths due to ozone in China have stabilised since 1990, in India these have jumped by 148 percent.

The 2017 report presents a deeper analysis than the earlier GBD report (2015) and examines the long term trends from 1990 through 2015.“We’re seeing increasing air pollution problems worldwide, and this new report and website details why that air pollution is a major contributor to early death,” said HEI president Dan Greenbaum in a statement on Tuesday.

“The trends we report show that we have seen progress in some parts of the world - but serious challenges remain,” he added.

The State of Global Air 2017 is the first of a new series of annual reports and accompanying interactive website, designed and implemented by the HEI in cooperation with the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington and the University of British Columbia.

In 2015, the highest concentrations of combustion-related—fine particulate matter were in South and Southeast Asia, China and Central and Western Sub-Saharan Africa. Household solid fuel use, coal-fired power plants, transportation, and open burning of agricultural and other wastes are among the most important contributors to outdoor air pollution.