Pollution in China is a massive problem. This is what the latest Lancet Commission on pollution and health report says. In 2015, 1.8 million people died in China on account of the problem, making the Asian superpower the No. 2 as far as pollution-related deaths are concerned. The dubious distinction doesn’t augur well for the Chinese economy and its growth. India is the top ranked country on this parameter with 2.5 million deaths and accounting for 28 per cent deaths worldwide. The figures were released by the world’s most prestigious medical journal The Lancet.
The project which took two years saw the coming together of 40 of the world’s most famous health and environmental experts. The Lancet team was headed by internationally known scientist Philip Landrigan. The scale of the problem is massive. According to the Lancet report, air pollution contributed to the highest number of deaths in 2015. It wiped off 6.5 million people globally.
Apart from China, India as well as Bangladesh saw the biggest increase in pollution-related deaths. India also saw the biggest jump in pollution mortality. In India, about 25 per cent of the total number of deaths in 2015 was because of pollution. Water pollution too has been contributing to the deaths. It killed around 0.5 million people internationally, with around 34,000 deaths coming from China.
China making massive investments in renewable energy sector
China is the world’s most populated country and is facing high degrees of air pollution, which became a huge problem during the hosting of Beijing Olympics. A major reason for air pollution in China is the emission from power plants, automobiles, and factories. The country still depends on coal for its energy needs. However, of late, it has been trying to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. It is therefore massively trying to change the situation by investing in renewable sources of energy. Looking at the investments, it won’t be surprising if it emerges as a green superpower. Solar power is becoming an integral part of the Chinese sustainable development strategy. However, green sources still account for around 1 per cent of China’s power production. According to a report by Ernst and Young, both India and China have been taking industry-friendly and environment friendly policies. Together with attractive economics, it is helping transform and change the outlook for renewable energy market and sector.
Air pollution triggers diseases such as stroke, heart disease and lung cancer. It accounts for the highest number of deaths due to non-communicable diseases. In the year 2015, pollution per se led to about 21 per cent deaths from cardiovascular disease, 26 per cent from ischemic heart disease, and 23 per cent by stroke.
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