Air pollution is killing thousands more people than Covid in the world’s biggest cities

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a temporary fall in air pollution in many parts of the world, as economic activity has ebbed and movement restrictions have de-clogged congested cities. But smog was still a big killer in 2020, according to analysis from environmental group Greenpeace and Swiss air quality technology firm IQAir.
In the world’s five biggest cities, Shanghai, Tokyo, Dehli, Mexico City, and São Paulo, small particulate matter in the air known as PM2.5, which penetrates deep into the lungs, killed 160,000 people prematurely in 2020.
Particulate pollution causes health problems such as lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and even diabetes.
Delhi, the world’s most polluted city, sustained an estimated 54,000 avoidable deaths due to PM2.5 air pollution in 2020 — more than five times the reported deaths from Covid-19 to date.
Jakarta, which overtook Beijing in a ranking of the world’s smoggiest urban centres last year, lost 13,000 lives to air pollution in 2020, more than double the Covid casualty rate in the Indonesian capital.
Tokyo, which for an Asian city has relatively clean air — with PM2.5 levels about 70 per cent above the limit deemed safe to breathe by the World Health Organisation — registered 40,000 deaths from bad air in 2020, while losing 1,180 people to the coronavirus.

Deaths from air pollution in the world’s five biggest cities [click to enlarge]. Source: IQAir and Greenpeace

Greenpeace’s study als…. Read more:
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