The burning of fossil fuels threatens the life of at least one million people every yearaccording to a new study. More than a million deaths per year, in fact, would be caused by the fire of coal, natural gas and oilresponsible for pollution fine particlesalso known as PM2.5.
Coal is the main culprit of deaths from fossil fuel pollution
Half of the deaths identified by the study can be attributed to coal, which is credited with producing soot pollutants in the air. Natural gas and oil are responsible for the other half of deaths, while around 80% of premature deaths from burning fossil fuels occur in South Asia or East Asia.
Fine particle pollution produces substances easily inhaled and carried into the bloodstreamthat is why it is responsible for various types of pathologies, including heart disease, diabetes, COPD, lung cancer and stroke. More recently, researchers have found less clear links between PM2.5 and other diseases such asrenal failure and the Parkinson’s. People who have had long-term exposure to PM2.5 are also at higher risk of hospitalization if they are fed up covidas it highlights this research.
“Our main objective was to identify the main sources of PM2.5 pollution and to understand how the distribution of pollution differs from one part of the world to another”he stated Erin McDuffieresearcher at the University of Washington. “For the first time in some countries, we have information of this kind”.
The researchers collected monthly pollution data from 1970 to 2017 and analyzed it using air quality models and satellite data. The result was a global map of the world distribution of PM2.5 with a resolution of about 1 km2. The study was coordinated by the non-profit organization Institute of Health Effects.
In South and East Asia, as well as Central and Eastern Europe, around half of deaths are due to coal burning, precisely because there are no strict laws limiting the use of coal. in these territories. In regions least dependent on coal, such as North America and Western Europe, however, oil and natural gas cause the majority of deaths from particulate pollution associated with fossil fuels.
It is not the first time that a study of this kind has been carried out on the harmful effects of PM2.5, but for the first time there is such a capillary geographic analysis.
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