Toxic air a rising killer

Urban air pollution to become deadlier than dirty drinking water

Urban air pollution will become the biggest environmental cause of premature death in the world by 2050, a new report finds.

A study conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) concluded that exposure to particulate matter will overtake poor sanitation and dirty drinking water, eventually causing 3.6 million premature deaths a year, mostly in China (pictured) and India, according to the UK’s Guardian newspaper. The report identified four areas of concern—climate change, loss of biodiversity, water and the health impacts of pollution.

“The key thing is that these four biggest problems are interconnected—biodiversity is affected by climate change and land use, water is linked to health problems, for instance,” said Simon Upton, the OECD’s environment director. “You can’t solve any of these in isolation.”