A new study has found that China’s air pollution is linked to the death of over 1.6 million people a year or 4,400 people a day. Scientists mapped the concentrations of six major pollutants across eastern China, using data from China’s national air quality reporting system.
The study was carried out by Richard Muller and Robert Rohde, researchers at Berkeley Earth, a non-profit dedicated to global climate data. The organization announced that the study has been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journal PLOS One. The study found that about three-eights of the Chinese population breath “unhealthy” air, based on United States standards.
“Nearly everyone in China experiences air that is worse for particulates than the worst air in the U.S,” said Rohde.
Muller said that when he reached Beijing, pollution was at a hazardous level, and every hour of exposure reduced his life expectancy by 20 minutes. Fine airborne particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter are considered as the dangers of pollutants as they can travel deep into human lungs. They can also enter the bloodstream, causing the range of health problems like asthma, heart attacks, strokes and lung cancer.
According to the American Lung Association, Fresnomadera, Calif., has the highest level of particle pollution, and the air quality in the area hits “unhealthy” levels about 47 days a year on average. Rodhe mentioned that 99.9 percent of the Eastern half of China has a higher annual average for small particle haze than Madera. In April, Greenpeace East Asia found that about 90 percent of the 360 cities in China failed to meet national air quality standards in the first three months of 2015.
However, the Chinese government is concerned about the data showing the killing of citizens. Though they have provided access to air quality readings to the public, the central propaganda department routinely ordered Chinese websites and social media to delete any content that could fuel unrest.[ Source ]