A thick smog settled over New Delhi as wintertime began in India last year, forcing medical professionals to declare a public health emergency. Residents swarmed local hospitals complaining of respiratory problems. Cricket players were forcing them to put on anti-pollution masks during their own nationals match between India and Sri Lanka. And United Airline canceled flights into the city, citing the air-quality concerns.
Air pollution isn’t among the causes of demise that medical examiners list on death certificates, but the health conditions linked to air pollution exposure, such as lung cancer and emphysema, are often fatal. Air pollution was responsible for 6. 1 million demises and accounted for nearly 12 percentage of the global death toll in 2016, the last year for which data was available, according the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.