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New report estimates 1800 deaths a year from aviation, shipping and rail pollution

4th May, 2012

University of Cambridge and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) researchers have recently published estimates of annual deaths as a result of air pollution from various sources in the UK.

After road transport, the researchers found that “emissions from shipping and aviation were the second greatest contributor to premature deaths, causing 1,800 early deaths annually, followed by powerplant emissions, which cause an estimated 1,700 premature deaths each year”, states a note from MIT.

More precisely, the report, published in the journal ‘Environmental Science and Technology’ indicates that “other transport” causes 1800 “nominal early deaths per year”.

“Other transport” means transport other than road transport and includes trains, shipping and aviation. A split into these components is not available at present, but researcher Stephen Barrett has told AEF that they intend to do further work which will separate out these sectors.

The deaths considered were those due to small particulates, PM2.5m, which are thought to have the biggest impact on human health. Deaths from larger particulates (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O3), were not included.