Air pollution levels in China were off the chart this year. The concentration of particulate matter was at record high, due to the incessant burning of coal in domestic fire places. Within a few days after China was declared as the most polluted nation in the world, the smog in London caught the attention of the environmentalists.
Further analysis of the size and nature of the suspended particulate matter in Europe done by Dr. Maigeng Zhou, of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, revealed that, while air pollution in most of the Chinese cities except for a few like Beijing and Hong Kong is mainly caused due to naturally released particulate matter, the smog in London and other European and North American countries was mostly due to the particulate matter released by industries, The Independent reported.
Recent studies suggest that annual exposure to fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) in China is five times more than the recommended levels by WHO.
Frank Kelly, environmentalist and health expert from the King’s College, London, said the health risks associated with air pollution in China are significantly less as compared to health complications caused by the exposure to deadly smog in London, according to Evening Standard.
The results of a health survey done across 272 cities in China published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, under the American Thoracic Society, indicated that the mortality rates associated with cardiovascular and respiratory complications have considerably risen, which was found to be coherent with the rising air pollution levels, EurekAlert reported. It was also found that there was a 0.22 percent rise in the number of deaths for every 10 micrograms per cubic meter rise in suspended particle concentration in China.
On the other hand, experts are speculating that a similar increase in concentration of particulate matter is likely to cause a 6 percent increase in the mortality rates in North America and Europe. This is a clear indication that the nature and health outcomes of air pollution in North America and London is 27 times worse than those of the air pollution levels in China