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Rich Countries Appear to be "Exporting" Air Pollution, Research Finds
GOVERNMENTS fret over traffic and other local nuisances that create filthy air. But research just published in Nature
by Zhang Qiang, of Tsinghua University in Beijing, and an international
team including environmental economists, physicists and disease
experts, suggests the problem has a global dimension, too. Dr Zhang’s
analysis estimates that in 2007—the first year for which complete
industrial, epidemiological and trade data were available when the team
started work—more than 3m premature deaths around the world were caused
by emissions of fine particulate matter (known as PM2.5, because the
particles in question are less than 2.5 microns across).
the team reckon just under an eighth were associated with pollutants
released in a part of the world different from that in which the death
occurred, thanks to transport of such particles from place to place by
the wind. Almost twice as many (22% of the total) were a consequence of
goods and services that were produced in one region (often poor) and
then exported for consumption in another (often rich, and with more
finicky environmental standards for its own manufacturers).