Fossil fuels have killed more people in 2018 than previously estimated

The latest research conducted by British universities indicates that in 2018 as many as 8.7 million people died due to air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels, a higher number than was previously thought.

The research looked into air pollution arising from the burning of fossil fuels which generates fine particles (PM 2.5) that trigger respiratory and cardiovascular diseases or worsen the condition of those already suffering from those health problems. PM 2.5 comes from coal, petrol, and diesel and is thus generated as a result of vehicles, factories, or households burning fossil fuels. The research found that the highest number of all deaths caused by air pollution was recorded in Eastern Asia, including China, which amounted to over 30%. The second position was occupied by Europe where over 16% of people died because of air pollution, a similar level to some parts of the US. In general, in both regions, more than one in 10 deaths was a result of air pollution. The lowest numbers of deaths caused by air pollution were recorded in South America (7.8%), Africa (3.7%), and Australia and Oceania (3.2%).

Even the researchers who conducted the study were surprised by their findings and the high levels of deaths stemming from poor air quality. It emerged that the number of people who died in 2018 due to air pollution was higher than the total number of people who died as a result of smoking and malaria put together.

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