Asia air pollution deaths to rise, environment group says

Dec 05, 2012
Traffic gridlock is seen in Hong Kong. Air pollution in Asia, which already kills at least 800,000 people each year, will likely lead to even higher death rates as the region's air quality worsens, an environmental group warned Wednesday.

Air pollution in Asia, which already kills at least 800,000 people each year, will likely lead to even higher death rates as the region's air quality worsens, an environmental group warned Wednesday.

Energy consumption and rising vehicle emissions amid Asia's are the main driving force behind the region's increasingly acute air pollution, according to air quality group Clean Air Asia.

"What we are worrying is that we are seeing the PM10 concentration (level) is on the rise again," the group's executive director Sophie Punte told a regional conference on air pollution in Hong Kong.

"Seven out of 10 cities in developing Asia are breathing air that is harmful to their health," she told 600 environmentalists and government officials gathered at the "Better Air Quality" conference organised by the group.

PM10 are that are 10 micrometres, or 10 millionths of a metre (0.0004 of an inch), across.

The group says air pollution will rise as the number of vehicles in Asia is expected to exceed one billion by 2035, while its fuel consumption and resulting will grow by 400 percent compared to its 2005 levels.

A study in 2008 found 800,000 out of 1.3 million each year due to air pollution are in Asia, and experts warn the figure could rise if no urgent action is taken.

"Our concern is that as pollution begins to rise, the toll—which is already significant—will start to escalate again," US-based Health Effects Institute vice chairman Robert O'Keefe said.

O'Keefe, who is also Clean Air Asia's trustees board chairman, said research had shown the deaths attributed to air pollution could double by 2050 if "business is as usual".

Asian countries like China—which suffers from , increasing traffic and lax protection measures—has come under pressure in recent years to tighten its air quality standards.

In Hong Kong, where its famed skyline is often covered in smog, the government has vowed to cut emissions from power plants and phase out polluting diesel vehicles as part of an ongoing effort to tackle air pollution.

Explore further: Gulf health 5 years after BP spill: Resilient yet scarred

Related Stories

Hong Kong to tighten power plant emission limits

Oct 19, 2012

Hong Kong on Friday announced new targets in its bid to cut emissions from power plants, part of an ongoing effort to tackle air pollution in the Chinese city that is regularly covered in smog.

China orders more accurate air-quality measure

Feb 29, 2012

China's cabinet ordered on Wednesday new air-quality standards to measure the most dangerous form of particulate matter, following a public outcry over worsening air pollution.

Hong Kong told to revamp air pollution rules

May 08, 2011

The Hong Kong government has been told to hammer out a timetable for new air quality rules amid increasingly vocal criticism of pollution in the global financial hub, a green group said Sunday.

Hong Kong chokes under 'worst' air pollution

Aug 02, 2012

Hong Kong choked under the worst smog ever recorded in the city Thursday, with residents warned to stay indoors, away from the blanket of toxic haze, officials said.

Sydney reports high levels of pollution

Feb 23, 2006

The city of Sydney, Australia, is experiencing a smog-filed summer season as air pollution levels double and officials have issued 14 health warnings.

Recommended for you

China's struggle for water security

2 hours ago

Way back in 1999, before he became China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao warned that water scarcity posed one of the greatest threats to the "survival of the nation".

Canada revises upward CO2 emission data since 1990

2 hours ago

Canada revised its greenhouse gas emission data from 1990 to 2013 in a report Friday, showing it had higher carbon dioxide discharges each year, and a doubling of emissions from its oil sands.

Climate censorship gains steam in red states

16 hours ago

While plenty of people found humor in the recent news that officials in Florida and Wisconsin are censoring state workers' ability to talk about, much less work on, climate change, other states are not necessarily laughing. ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GSwift7
1 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2012
A World Health Organization study in 2008 found 800,000 out of 1.3 million premature deaths each year due to air pollution are in Asia


Those figures vary widely depending on what your source is. It's a VERY fuzzy number. The following 2005 study from Berkley estimated about 800k total for the whole planet.

http://ehs.sph.be...-OAP.pdf

The following advocacy web site also points out that emissions of dangerous pollutants are on the decline, rather than increasing in most places. Even China is making progress towards modernization of air quality standards.

http://www.wunder...asp?MR=1

The nice thing about air quality standards is that many of the things that can be done to improve air quality also improve efficience, and therefore save money. It's a win-win situation I think.

Compared to other sources, the above story seems a bit melodramatic to me.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.