The Invisible Threat That Caused 1/5 Deaths in 2018


Noah MacAulay, Writer

The Burning of fossil fuels is a serious issue that is worked towards being fixed however there is a much direct impact of burning fossil fuels, Air population. This might sound like a different phrasing of climate change however, while they might be closely linked Climate change is the trapping of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere increasing the average temperature and therefore sea level of the earth, Air pollution is harmful solid and liquid particles that become trapped in the air and can be breathed in.

Fossil fuel burning is one of if not the largest causes of air pollution we can currently observe and it is still depended on to power our world meaning we can’t flip a switch and get rid of it. However, its direct impacts have not been recognized until a study conducted in 2018 analyzing the deaths caused by the inhalation of harmful particles due to air pollution. The study concluded that an average of 1/5 adults who died in 2018 died because of air pollution. The percentages across multiple continents are shown in a graph provided by The Guardian below:

The results show that a staggering third of all deaths in East Asia occur because of air pollution and that across all the results 8.7 million people died needlessly because of our fo<>ssil fuel usage (Note: Expert in Air pollution George Thurston said that the study could quite possibly be an understatement of the true toll). These death rates according to The Guardian exceed the deaths each year from smoking and malaria, combined! For more non-lethal cases inhalation of harmful particles can cause respiratory troubles such as Asthma and Lung Cancer. Air pollution is also linked to cases of heart disease and blindness purely caused by Air pollution. These factors combined mean that without any fossil fuel use the world’s average life span would go up a year a very large increase that has not been seen in many years and the world would save roughly 2.9 trillion dollars in health care.

The world is on a dangerous course and these effects will only continue to worsen year after year should we continue on our current trajectory. The results here are quite clear, we need to change our dependents on fossil fuels and we need to start now. Unfortunately, a single individual cannot make a difference here, but if enough people find alternative energy providers we can save millions of lives and trillions of dollars every year.


Sources: The Guardian

Original Study