A toxic type of outdoor air pollution, known as fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), causes 2.1 million deaths worldwide each year, according to a July study led by University of North Carolina earth scientist Jason West.
The researchers measured human-caused air pollution around the world based on the difference in pollution levels between 1850 and 2000.
Now NASA has published a map, based on the results, that estimates the average number of deaths per 386 square miles per year due to air pollution.
Blue areas have experienced an improvement in air quality relative to 1850, and the dark brown areas have seen the most premature deaths.
NASA notes that the effect of air pollution can be seen “all areas where urbanization has added considerable quantities of PM2.5 to the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution.”
Check it out:
The map informs extreme smog events, which are caused by short-term weather events merging with ongoing human-caused emissions.
In June, Singapore was blanketed in smog spurred by illegal forest fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra island.
China may be the worst, but the map shows that many people may be much more vulnerable to hazardous pollution than they realise.
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