- (Photo: AP Images / Greg Baker, Pool)
New research indicates that in 2010 more than a million people died prematurely in China due to the country's extremely poor air quality.
The new findings, dubbed "Airpocalypse," were revealed in a 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study published in the December 2012 issue of The Lancet, a popular medical journal.
The findings indicated that in 2010 that more than 3.2 million people died due to poor air quality and pollution throughout the globe, with more than 1.2 million dying in China alone.
Specific data on Chinese air pollution statistics were presented in Beijing during an environmental conference on Sunday. The researchers who presented the study were a part of the World Health Organization as well as several top universities and stated that air pollution in China eliminated roughly 25 million healthy years from the Chinese population in 2010 alone.
"Ambient particulate matter pollution" is the fourth-leading cause of death in China, but the same mortality factor ranks seventh worldwide, the study revealed.
News of the poor state of air quality in the Communist country did not sit well with Chinese officials, who have been reportedly censoring several news agencies from revealing the true nature of the air pollution throughout the country.
"Calculations of premature deaths because of outdoor air pollution are politically threatening in the eyes of some Chinese officials. According to news reports, Chinese officials cut out sections of a 2007 report called 'Cost of Pollution in China' that discussed premature deaths," according to a recent New York Times report.
There are several causes for the poor air quality in China. Scientists state that the main cause has been the increased use and dependence on coal for energy production and the lax environmental regulations implemented by the Chinese government.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said last month that "urban air pollution" could soon become the top environmental cause of mortality. The OECD predicts that deaths from air pollution will outpace deaths from poor water sanitation by the year 2050.