What causes as many or more deaths in Malaysia as road accidents but has not been known to be such a dangerous killer?
This “killer” is not as dramatic or visible as car crashes, but is even more dangerous as it penetrates and contaminates our vital organs, leading to serious diseases and thousands of death.
Outdoor air pollution caused 6,251 deaths in Malaysia in 2012, according to a recent report by the World Health Organisation.
The deaths were due to heart disease (3,630), stroke (1773), lung cancer (670), pulmonary disease (148) and lower respiratory disease (29).
In 2013, road accidents killed 7,129 people in Malaysia, slightly more than the outdoor air pollution figure for 2012.
But the WHO study does not include indoor or household air pollution, which may have harmed many more people. If the deaths from this were known and added, the total deaths caused by air pollution overall would almost certainly be higher than those caused by road accidents.
It is timely to get these new details on the serious health effects of air pollution.