A scientific study found that environmental pollution doubles the estimated figures and kills an average of 8.8 million people per year. It also decreases people’s lives by two years.
Accurate information about the impact of environmental pollution on people used to be estimated from the numbers coming from passive smokers. However, for a time now, more than 40 studies emerged that contributed specific data and a problem became evident: that the calculations were erroneous.
A new study from the University Medical Center in Mainz, Germany, warns that the premature deaths caused by air pollution are so many that they exceed those caused by smoking. Globally, the first holds an average of 8.8 million deaths (double the estimate), against 7.2 million of the second.
According to the article published in the Scientific Journal European Heart Journal, the causes of death are not only breathing: while environmental pollution attacks the lungs first, the blood flow causes heart disease or stroke lead the reasons for the high mortality (In fact, they represent double that of respiratory pathologies).
The issue is particularly worrisome in Europe, where pollution kills around 800,000 people a year – more than in the rest of the world. In addition, it reduces people’s lives, on average, by two years. This is because there is too much population and the air has poor quality, so they are more exposed. “To put this information in perspective: this means that pollution causes more extra deaths annually than smoking tobacco,” Thomas Münzel, one of the authors of the article, told The Guardian newspaper. “Smoking is avoidable but polluted air is not,” he warned.
What is the reason behind all this?
The researchers point to fossil fuels. “We need to change to other sources of energy urgently. By using clean and renewable alternatives, we not only mitigate the effects of climate change, but we also reduce mortality by dirty air by up to 55%, “said Jos Lelieveld, another of the authors of the study.