The air quality group Clean Air Asia, warned on Wednesday that increased energy consumption, together with rising vehicle emissions, will lead to a rapid increase in air pollution and therefore higher death rates.
During a regional conference called “Better Air Quality” in Hong Kong, the executive director of the environmental group, Spphie Punte, pointed out that in all developing countries in Asia at least 7 out of 10 major cities are dangerously polluted, and threatening human health.
Environmentalists and governmental officials were warned that the concentrations of PM10, tiny air particles, are increasing again.
This increase is likely to continue as the number of vehicles is predicted to exceed one billion by 2035. This will result in increase of fuel consumption, and therefore carbon dioxide emissions, by up to 400% the levels from 2005.
Figures from 2008 provided by the World Health Organization show that 800,000 out of 1.3 million premature deaths occur due to poor air quality each year. These numbers are very likely to rise further if immediate action does not take place.
According to the US-based Health Effects Institute vice chairman Robert O’Keefe, the number of lost lives due to air pollution is likely to double by year 2050.
Heavily polluted countries like China, with high traffic and poor air quality have made their air quality standards a lot stricter. The government in Hong Kong is planning to reduce emissions from power plants and replace diesel vehicles in their attempt to handle air pollution.