By José Carlos Díaz Zanelli
"Air pollution is the biggest environmental catastrophe in the world," Richard Muller, an environmental researcher at Berkeley Earth, said a year ago. And apparently he was right. A recent report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) has set off alarms with chilling figures.
And it is that the investigation reveals that only in Europe annually there are more than half a million premature deaths due to pollution. The exact figure used by the EEA is 524 thousand deaths per year from airborne particles and nitrogen dioxide.
"Despite continuous improvements that have been made in recent decades, air pollution continues to affect the general health of Europeans, reducing their quality of life and life expectancy," said Hans Bruyninckx, EEA director at submitting your report.
In Spain alone, the number of premature deaths from pollution exceeds 30 thousand victims a year. Being the Particles in Suspension (PM) the cause of the greater number of deaths.
But it is China where the greatest drama is lived. In the Asian country, 4 thousand people die every day as a result of air pollution, according to a study by Berkeley Earth, published in 2014. This environmental research organization pointed out that living in Beijing and breathing in its atmosphere is equivalent to smoking a cigarette and a half every hour.
Precisely in 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) had warned that 7 million people die annually in the world from air pollution. This according to a calculation updated to the year 2012.
The most recent data for the Peruvian situation come from a study carried out by the Economic and Social Research Consortium (CIES), which found that between 2007 and 2011, more than 5,000 people had died in Lima alone. This is a product of the pollution generated by the burning of fossil fuels.
However, it is evident that a detailed study is needed to show the real statistics of the impact of air pollution in Peru. For now, the INEI recognized in 2013 that the dust concentration in the air in Lima triples the limit recommended by the WHO. It remains to be known what the impact of said pollution will be.