Air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels causes 8.7 million deaths in 2018?
- Tram Ho
While most of us criticize the burning of fossil fuels for the long-term negative effects of the planet’s health. But on the other hand, burning fossil fuels also indirectly causes short-term effects on people’s own health.
A new study by Harvard scientists has shed light on the magnitude of the problem. Accordingly, they found that air pollution caused by fossil fuels caused more than 8 million deaths globally in 2018.
The study was carried out in collaboration with scientists from the University of Birmingham, University of Leicester and University of London (UCL) focusing on one type of air pollution that is related to the PM2.5 fine dust particles. with dimensions less than 2.5 microns.
They are emitted from a variety of sources including wildfires, vehicle emissions and fossil fuel burning. Due to their microscopic size, they can enter the lungs and bloodstream, through chronic exposure, leading to health problems such as asthma, lung cancer, coronary artery disease and stroke.
Professor Eloise Marais from UCL said: “Burning fossil fuels produces fine dust particles that contain many toxins and penetrate deep into the lungs. The risks of inhalation of these PM2.5 dust particles have been identified. Our research only adds to the evidence that air pollution due to the dependence on fossil fuels is bad for global health We cannot continue to rely on fossil fuels even though know that there are such serious effects on health and that there are cleaner and more viable alternatives. “
Using information from observational satellites to calculate global concentrations of dust derived from fossil fuels and other sources of emissions such as wildfires and cars, Marais and her colleagues sought assessing PM2.5 fine dust pollution.
The scientists used an advanced atmospheric chemistry model developed at Harvard, combined with estimating emissions from various fields such as electricity generation, transportation, and industry. The team then used a chemical simulation of oxidant-aerosol from NASA to calculate PM2.5 pollution concentrations from fossil fuels in different locations. The scientists’ system can divide the entire globe into segments of just 50 x 60 km.
Combining high-resolution satellite imagery data and data about where people live, the team can come to more detailed conclusions about the air quality people are breathing in every day. The team then developed a new risk assessment model based on an updated link between long-term exposure to PM2.5 dust pollution, even at low concentrations and mortality. .
The scientists found that the death rate from long-term exposure to fossil fuel emissions is much higher. Previously, a comprehensive study of mortality from all particulate matter sources showed an annual death toll of 4.2 million people, including sources such as dust from fires.
But in the latest study, the new study authors concluded that fossil fuel emissions alone caused 8.7 million deaths in 2018, accounting for almost a fifth or 18% of the total. global number.
“Usually, when we discuss the dangers of burning fossil fuels, it’s in the context of CO2 concentrations,” said co-author Joel Schwartz, professor of Environmental Epidemiology at Harvard University. But we often ignore the potential health effects of pollutants along with greenhouse gases. We hope that by quantifying the health consequences of In burning fossil fuels, we can send a clear message to policymakers and stakeholders about the benefits of switching to alternative energy sources.
The research has been published recently in the journal Environmental Research.
Source : Genk