July 19, 2024, 1:33 am

Special Correspondent

2024-06-20 07:44:10 BdST

Air pollution 2nd biggest cause of premature deaths in 2021: Study

The fifth edition of State of Global Air report shows air pollution causing the second most premature deaths globally in 2021, claiming the lives of 8.1 million people.

High blood pressure was adjudged the worst killer in 2021 in the study conducted by US-based Health Effects Institute (HEI) and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, with support from the UNICEF.

Air pollution was also the second largest killer of children aged below five after malnutrition.

In South Asia, Eastern Africa, Western Africa, Central Africa and Southern Africa air pollution is responsible for 30% of deaths occurring in the first month of birth.

The study also found that 99% of world’s population lives in places with unhealthy levels of outdoor fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which are small enough to enter the bloodstream through lungs.

Low- and middle-income countries in South Asia and Africa are burdened with most air pollution related deaths, the report claimed.

However, the report also pointed to improvements particularly in household pollution levels. The reduction in household air pollution exposure in China and South Asia has brought down relevant fatality rate in these regions since 2000.

"We hope our State of Global Air report provides both the information and the inspiration for change," said ealth Effects Institute President Dr Elena Craft.

"Air pollution has enormous implications for health. We know that improving air quality and global public health is practical and achievable," Dr Elena added.

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