Air pollution will lead to more deaths in Asia as air quality worsens amid the region’s rapid economic growth, an environmental group said Wednesday.
At least 800,000 people have died each year from air pollution and that the figure will likely increase, exacerbated by energy consumption and rising vehicle emissions, air quality group Clean Air Asia warned. Air quality will continue to worsen as fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions increased with the number of vehicles in Asia expected to exceed one billion by 2035.
“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 said during a regional conference on air pollution in Hong Kong. She added that people in “7 out of 10 cities in developing Asia are breathing air that is harmful to their health.”
The World Health Organization warned that the deaths resulting from air pollution could rise if no urgent action is taken. Clean Air Asia’s trustees board chairman and US-based Health Effects Institute vice chairman Robert O’Keefe said the toll could double by 2050 if a policy of “business is as usual” is followed.