Ninety-two percent of the world’s population breathe unsafe levels of air pollution, according to the World Health Organization. The three countries with worst case of air pollution is China, where it caused more than 1 million deaths in 2012 alone.
China is followed by India where at least 600,000 citizens have died from dirty air in 2012. The nation with the third worst case of dirty air is Russia, where more than 140,000 Russians died from the same cause.
The report, which was collaborated by University of Bath, is the most detailed outdoor air pollution data by country by WHO. The findings were made possible by satellite data, air transport models as well as ground station monitors in more than 3,000 rural and urban areas.
Around 3 million deaths are associated with outdoor air pollution. Indoor pollution is just as bad and together with outdoor pollution, these two caused around 6.5 million deaths worldwide in 2012 alone. This represents about 11.6 percent of all global deaths.
People from low-income and middle-income countries comprise 90 percent of all deaths from air pollution. Polluted air also increases the risk of acute respiratory infections.
WHO cites that sources of the problem include household fuel and waste burning, inefficient modes of transport, power plants that use coals and other industrial activities. Non-human activities, such as dust storm, can also degrade air quality.
Among the pollutants that deteriorate one’s health are carbon monoxide, particulate matter, , ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide.
In Australia, there were 93 deaths from air pollution in 2012. In comparison, the US had more than 38,000 deaths from the same cause in the same year while the UK had over 16,000.
The nations with the best air quality are as follows; Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Micronesia with zero deaths, Brunei Darussalam only had one death from air pollution while Fiji and Vanuatu have two deaths from the same cause.