Fouled air blankets a street in Delhi, India, in 2009.
A new report predicts urban air pollution will become the No. 1 cause of premature death in the coming decades, beating out poor sanitation and dirty drinking water to take more than 3.5 million lives per year. —ARK
Both developed and developing countries will be hit, and by 2050, there could be 3.6 million premature deaths a year from exposure to particulate matter, most of them in China and India. But rich countries will suffer worse effects from exposure to ground-level ozone, because of their ageing populations – older people are more susceptible.
The warning comes in a new report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is a study of the global environmental outlook until 2050. The report found four key areas that are of most concern – climate change, loss of biodiversity, water and the health impacts of pollution.