"Outdoor air pollution contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in China in 2010, nearly 40 percent of the global total, according to a new summary of data from a scientific study on leading causes of death worldwide," reports Edward Wong. Add in India's 620,000 premature deaths from air pollution, and the two countries are well on their way to the nightmare scenario of 3.6 million premature deaths a year worldwide by 2050 (!) predicted by a recent OECD report.
"What the researchers called 'ambient particulate matter pollution' was the fourth-leading risk factor for deaths in China in 2010, behind dietary risks, high blood pressure and smoking." adds Wong. "Air pollution ranked seventh on the worldwide list of risk factors, contributing to 3.2 million deaths in 2010."
"Last week, an official Chinese news report said the cost of environmental degradation in China was about $230 billion in 2010, or 3.5 percent of the gross domestic product. The estimate, said to be partial, came from a research institute under the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and was three times the amount in 2004, in local currency terms."