|Air pollution killed 7 million
Air pollution by sources ranging from cooking fires to auto fumes contributed to an estimated 7 million deaths worldwide in 2012, the UN health agency said.
“Air pollution, and we're talking about both indoors and outdoors, is now the biggest environmental health problem, and it's affecting everyone, both developed and developing countries,'' said Maria Neira, the World Health Organization's public and environmental health chief. AFP reports.
Globally, pollution was linked to one death in eight in 2012, new WHO research found.
The biggest pollution-related killers were heart disease, stroke, pulmonary disease and lung cancer.
The hardest-hit regions of the globe were what the WHO labels Southeast Asia, which includes India and Indonesia, and the Western Pacific, ranging from China and South Korea to Japan and Philippines.
Together, they accounted for 5.9 million deaths.
The global death toll included 4.3 million deaths due to indoor air pollution, chiefly caused by cooking over coal, wood and biomass stoves.
The toll from outdoor pollution was 3.7 million, with sources ranging from coal heating fires to diesel engines.
Many people are exposed to both indoor and outdoor pollution, the WHO said, and due to that overlap the separate death toll attributed to the two sources cannot simply be added together, hence the figure of seven million deaths.
According to the WHO, some 2.9 billion people in poor nations live in homes that use fires as their principal method of cooking and heating.