Coal, China, and India: A Deadly Combination for Air Pollution?

World Consumption of coal and natural gas, 1950-2003 The rapid growth in coal use in China and India, where pollution controls are minimal, is adding to local and long-distance pollution. More than 80 percent of Chinese cities in a recent World Bank survey had sulfur dioxide or nitrogen dioxide emissions above the World Health Organization's threshold.

Scientists have concluded that growing up in a city with polluted air is about as harmful to a person's health as growing up with a parent who smokes. Although air pollution is concentrated in cities, it can move well beyond them: for example, acidic lakes in Scandinavia have been linked to pollution from factories in the United States. The World Bank projected that on average 1.8 million people would die prematurely each year between 2001 and 2020 because of air pollution.

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References
"Fossil Fuel Use Surges," in Vital Signs 2005, pp. 30-31
"Air Pollution Still a Problem," in Vital Signs 2005, pp. 94-95

Links Projected premature deaths due to air pollution
World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, http://www.niehs.nih.gov/