Air pollution from the burning of coal kills more than 4,000 people a day in China, accounting for one in six premature deaths and 1.6 million deaths annually, according to a study in the journal PLOS One.
“It’s a very big number,” study author Robert Rohde told the AP. “It’s a little hard to wrap your mind around the numbers. Some of the worst in China is to the southwest of Beijing.”
The AP reports that the study:
uses real air measurements and then computer model calculations that estimate heart, lung and stroke deaths for different types of pollutants.
Study lead author Robert Rohde said that 38 percent of the Chinese population lives in an area with a long-term air quality average that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls “unhealthy.”
In comparison, the EPA estimated in 2010 that 63,000 to 88,000 people die in the U.S. from air pollution every year.