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EghtesadOnline: US researchers have said that air pollution, primarily caused by burning fossil fuels, is the world's top killer.

The findings were published in the University of Chicago's Air Quality Life Index on Monday and represent an attempt to find out the extent to which tiny particles ingested from polluted air shorten life, Forbes reported.

Across the globe, the average person is losing 1.8 years of life expectancy due to particulate pollution exceeding the World Health Organization’s guideline and that is worse than first-hand cigarette smoke, alcohol, HIV/AIDs, and conflict.

Researchers add that if the current state of particulate pollution persists, the global population will lose a total of 12.8 billion years of life, according to Financial Tribune.

Some areas of the world are impacted more than others and in parts of India, the world’s second largest country by population, people could live up to 11 years less due to air pollution.

China and Indonesia are also badly affected by particulate pollution with their life expectancy cut by seven years and five and a half years respectively.

The average loss in life expectancy increased from 1.0 in 1998 to 1.8 in 2016 with developing countries (primarily in Asia and Africa), experiencing the greatest rise in particulate pollution.

The problem is being exacerbated by a lack of action to reduce pollution levels.

For example, only a handful of India's 100 most-polluted cities have formulated strategies to combat pollution, despite being asked three years ago to do so.

The news is better in Europe and North America where particulate pollution levels have fallen thanks to well-implemented policies to attain clean air.

On average, someone in the United States or the United Kingdom loses around a month of life due to air pollution.

 

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