Pollution and Climate Patterns Linked to 135 Million Premature Deaths Globally

According to a study released by Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on Monday, pollution from natural sources, such as wildfires and man-made emissions, has been associated with approximately 135 million premature fatalities worldwide between 1980 and 2020. The pervasive impact of air pollution on global health over the past four decades is underscored by this significant discovery.

The study, which was published in the journal Environment International, emphasised that the airborne concentration of these pollutants was exacerbated by meteorological phenomena such as El Niño and the Indian Ocean Dipole. NTU researchers underscored the significant health hazards associated with the inhalation of minute particles known as particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5). Vehicle and industrial emissions, as well as natural sources such as fires and dust storms, are the sources of these particles, which are small enough to reach the bloodstream.

NTU cited the study’s findings, stating that PM 2.5 was linked to approximately 135 million premature fatalities worldwide from 1980 to 2020. These fatalities frequently occurred in individuals who were afflicted with maladies or conditions that could have been prevented or treated, including cancer, heart and lung disease, and stroke. The investigation disclosed that these fatalities were elevated by fourteen percent due to weather patterns alone.

The public health crisis caused the most premature fatalities in Asia, with the highest number of deaths attributable to PM 2.5 pollution. The region, with China and India being the primary countries, recorded over 98 million casualties. In addition, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Japan reported substantial numbers of premature deaths, with estimates spanning from 2 to 5 million individuals.

Steve Yim, an associate professor at NTU’s Asian School of the Environment, who directed the investigation, stated, “Our results indicate that fluctuations in climate patterns can exacerbate air pollution.” “When certain climate events happen, like El Niño, pollution levels can go up, which means more people might die prematurely because of PM 2.5 pollution.”

The study employed a wealth of data, such as satellite data from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on particulate matter levels in the Earth’s atmosphere and statistics on pollution-linked fatalities from the US-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States was the originator of the information on weather patterns.

This investigation is one of the most comprehensive studies to date on the intersection of climate and air quality. The current study concentrated on the impact of ordinary weather patterns on air pollution; however, future research is anticipated to investigate the more extensive implications of climate change.

Additionally, researchers from institutions in China, Britain, and Hong Kong participated in this comprehensive investigation. The World Health Organisation has previously stated that the combined effects of household air pollution and ambient air pollution are responsible for 6.7 million premature fatalities worldwide each year. This latest research conducted by NTU serves to underscore the pressing necessity of incorporating climate patterns and air pollution into global health strategies in order to safeguard populations worldwide.

Green Time Editorial Body