Smog leads to estimated 49,000 deaths in Beijing, Shanghai in 2020
SHANGHAI (CHINA) – Air pollution leads to an estimated 49,000 deaths and $23 billion, when it comes to economic losses in Beijing and Shanghai alone since Jan. 1, 2020, as per a “clean air counter” launched by environmental groups on Thursday.
The online tool launched by the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), Greenpeace Southeast Asia and IQAir Air Visual, estimates smog in 28 major cities worldwide. Models devised by the Global Burden of Disease research programme are used to estimate the health impact.
Higher levels of smog lead to a wide range of diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer.
The economic impact was evaluated by estimating factors such as work absences and years lost due to illness. Measured on a per capita basis, New Delhi in India was affected the most by pollution, losing an estimated 25,000 lives as well as 5.8% of its total GDP since the start of the year.
As per the tracker, Shanghai saw an estimated 27,000 deaths from January 1, more than the 22,000 in Beijing, which partly reflects the city’s higher population.
Lauri Myllyvirta, CREA’s lead analyst, said, “This also highlights the fact that Shanghai’s pollution is now almost as bad as Beijing’s, as Beijing has improved a lot faster.”
According to official Chinese data, concentrations of small, hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5 were higher in Beijing in the first half of the year than in Shanghai.
Shanghai, however, recorded higher rates of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, two other major components of smog.
Overall, smog in China in 2020 has declined compared to last year, with COVID-19 lockdowns reducing traffic and industrial activity. However, experts warn that efforts to boost the economy could cause a rebound in the second half of the year.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.