Over 30 per cent of yearly deaths in India can be attributed to air pollution from fossil fuels, a study by Harvard University revealed.
The research was conducted in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester, and University College London. And was published on Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research.
It found that the highest rates of deaths from fossil fuels like coal and diesel to be in China and India.
The report stated that within India, Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest number of deaths due to air pollution from fossil fuels. Data revealed that over 4.7 lakh deaths per year in Uttar Pradesh were due to pollution. Meanwhile, in Bihar over 2.8 lakh deaths were attributed to air pollution from fossil fuels.
Researchers also found that efforts to improve air quality in China brought down the number of deaths from 21.5 per cent of the total deaths in 2012 to 18 per cent in 2018.
As per an article by The Print the report found that regions with the highest concentrations of fossil fuel-related air pollution were Eastern North America, Europe, and South-East Asia- which also have the highest rates of mortality.
Reportedly, the burning of fossil fuels has been held responsible for about one in five deaths worldwide. In 2018 alone, globally over 8 million people died due to fossil fuel pollution.
The researchers behind the study stated the previous researches relied on satellite and surface observations to estimate the average global annual concentrations of airborne particulate matter or PM2.5, however, these observations do not differentiate between particles from fossil fuel emissions than particles from dust, wildfire smoke or other sources.
In order to overcome this challenge, the team used a global 3D model of atmospheric chemistry that allowed them to study local pollution levels.
“Rather than rely on averages spread across large regions, we wanted to map where the pollution is and where people live, so we could know more exactly what people are breathing,” Karn Vohra, a graduate at the University of Birmingham and first author of the study, said in a statement.
The new study found a higher mortality rate for long-term exposure to fossil fuel emissions, even at lower concentrations.