World Media

Air pollution deadly for 3.3 million per year

The map shows the single leading cause of death from air pollution in 36 countries. 2c x 5 inches 96.3 mm x 127

In much of Eurasia, including parts of northern China and Japan, air pollution from agricultural activity is the leading cause of premature deaths.

Scientists from around the globe published a study last Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature, claiming that air pollution alone is killing 3.3 million people a year worldwide, The Associated Press reported via US News.

Around 6% of the world's yearly total death count is caused by poor air quality that further branches out in multiple diseases that leads to their bodies prematurely shutting down. Other factors included burning wood and coal for cooking and heating homes. And they are in fact deadly, leading every year to premature deaths, according to new research by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany. The situation seems harsher in Asia, as it's followed closely by India on second place with 645,000 deaths, and then Pakistan with 110,000.

In particular, agriculture's contribution to pollution surprised the researchers.

Farms produce ammonia from fertilizer and animal waste, which combines with sulfates from coal energy and nitrates from auto exhaust to form large soot particles that can wreak havoc on the respiratory and circulatory systems. "For London, agriculture is the main source", said Lelieveld.

In the central U.S., the main cause of soot and smog premature deaths is power plants.

Global warming and air pollution will continue to be major, worldwide problems this and next year. That's based on no change in air pollution.

Looking at Canada, deaths from agricultural air pollution are most common along the Windsor-Quebec City corridor, while on the southern Prairies and British Columbia, industrial pollution seems to be the most harmful, while in the Rockies, pollution from transportation-related activities seems the most common.

The German manufacturer was slapped with a notice of violation (NOV) of the Clean Air Act from the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday and ordered to fix its emissions systems at its own cost.

A sophisticated software algorithm on certain Volkswagen vehicles detects when the auto is undergoing official emissions testing, and turns full emissions controls on only during the test. "Maybe this will help bring more attention to the issue".

The agency has warned VW that it could face civil penalties and injunctive relief for the alleged violations.

It's understood that Volkswagen has been cooperating with the EPA's investigation, but the manufacturer has declined to comment any further.