A new environment study paints a very bleak picture of Vietnam, measuring its air pollution as the second deadliest in Southeast Asia in terms of the raw number of premature deaths.
Deaths attributable to dangerous air particles in Vietnam jumped 60 percent from 26,300 in 1990 to 42,200 in 2015, according to the report issued jointly on Tuesday by the Health Effects Institute, a Boston research institute focused on the health impacts of air pollution, and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle.
In Southeast Asia, the country's fatalities came second only to Indonesia’s, the study found. Vietnam has the third largest population in the region.
Ambient particulate matter ranks fifth among risk factors for total deaths around the world, after high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol.
Ambient air pollution is measured by the concentration of PM2.5, a fraction of the width of a human hair which is released from vehicles, industry, as well as from natural sources like dust.
Pollution in Vietnam worsened between 2000 and 2005, but improved later and thus stayed almost unchanged over the surveyed period.
The study named India as the world’s new deadliest country as its rapidly worsening air pollution has surpassed China’s.
About 1.1 million people die prematurely each year in India, with nearly a 50 percent increase in premature deaths from particulate matter between 1990 and 2015, the study found.
It found air pollution worsened in most parts of South Asia but improved in the United States and Europe, thanks to policies to curb emissions.