Majority of World Population Breathe Bad Air, but Nutritional Habit may be Responsible for Increased Mortality in South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia
Kaufui V Wong*
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Miami, USA
Submission: September 30, 2016; Published: October 27, 2016
*Corresponding author: Kaufui V Wong, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Miami, USA, Email: [email protected]
How to cite this article: Kaufui V W. Majority of World Population Breathe Bad Air, but Nutritional Habit may be Responsible for Increased Mortality in
002 South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia. Nutri Food Sci Int J. 2016; 1(3): 555564. DOI: 10.19080/NFSIJ.2016.01.555564
In late September 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) came out with a report that had the most comprehensive analysis to date on air quality worldwide. The report stated that 92 percent of the world population breathes unhealthy air. It also informed that about 3 million deaths annually were caused by air pollution in the form of cardiovascular, pulmonary, and other non-communicable diseases. Nearly sixty-seven percent of those deaths are in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia, compared with 333,000 only in Europe and the Americas. The current work looks at the probability that this deduction may not be quite precise, and that tobacco use and smoking could be a stronger suspect of the Western Pacific region and Southeast Asia, only China validates the WHO’s declaration.
In late September 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) came out with a report which contained the most comprehensive analysis so far on air quality worldwide. The report stated that 92 percent of the world population breathe polluted air [1,2]. It was also stated that about 3 million air-pollution-related deaths a year resulted from cardiovascular, pulmonary, and other non-communicable diseases. Nearly sixty-seven percent of those deaths (related to air pollution) are in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia, compared with 333,000 only in Europe and the Americas [1,2]. The Western Pacific includes China, South Korea and Japan.
There is at least one interactive map online which displays the distribution of air pollution in the world [3,4]. The World Air Quality Index maintains live pollution maps for detrimental particles . PM2.5 particulate matter from internal combustion engines in cars and other transportation vehicles as well as the combustion of fossil fuels (for power plants and industrial processing, etc.) do pose a high risk to human health [5-8].
It is clear from  that as a country, the United States of America (USA), South Korea and Japan have generally clean air, and Malaysia and Singapore have clean to moderately clean air. Large parts of Indonesia have clean air, and so is the eastern border region of East Malaysia with Indonesia (which is mostly jungle). Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines have generally clean to moderately clean air.
It seems that the mortality data owing to cardiovascular, pulmonary and other non-communicable diseases have been correlated to good-to-moderate air quality in South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia. This would rise a ‘not-so-fast’ warning light in careful health researchers. Could there be another likely reason for the mortality rate attributed to the aforementioned diseases in these nations?
The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) have published the ill effects and different diseases associated with smoking and tobacco use. They also provide data of increase in mortality owing to smoking tobacco, in the various disease categories.
‘Cardiovascular, pulmonary, and other non-communicable
diseases’ are definitely included in the categories listed in .
There is a number of tobacco maps online. Reference 
is an interactive map online which shows the mortality owing to
smoking tobacco in men and in women for the various nations.
Percentage-wise, the rate at which people dying a year from
smoking tobacco is highest in Vietnam among the Southeast
Asian nations . Among the fatalities, women’s deaths
from smoking tobacco were in general lower than men’s in all
countries. The fatality in men is about 22% in Vietnam, 21% in
South Korea and hovered around 19% for China, Japan, Thailand,
Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. The United
States of America (USA) also gave up a 19% mortality rate in
men, and about 15% mortality rate in women. This mortality
rate in women from smoking tobacco is one of the highest in the
world, equaling that of women in Canada. Comparing the data presented in  and in , the number of deaths reported by
the WHO in South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia seem to be
correlated to the deaths owing to tobacco use and smoking.
If there is a correlation at all, it is weak between outdoor air
pollution and mortality owing to cardiovascular, pulmonary, and
other non-communicable diseases in South Korea, Japan and
Southeast Asia because the air quality in these countries are
good to moderate. This fact can clearly be seen from Table 1. The
correlation is probably true for China since even the man on the
street in the USA seem to know that the air quality in China is
generally poor. Other areas shown in  with poor air quality
include many parts of India. From Table 1, it is obvious that in
only one of the nine nations examined, is it reasonable to deduce
that the mortality rate is related to outside air pollution. In the
other eight countries located in the Western Pacific region and
Southeast Asia, the deduction made by WHO regarding fatalities
and outside air pollution is questionable.
The areas around the world without air pollution seem to be
areas of low to no population, e.g. the tundra region of northern
Russia. This is logical since air pollution is caused mainly by
humans. Outside air pollution is no different, since indoor
air pollution is by default caused by human beings. It follows
then that these areas are not suitable for study in looking for
confirmation that outside air pollution causes cardiovascular,
pulmonary, and other non-communicable diseases. It is not the
contention here that outside air pollution does not cause these
diseases. This fact has been verified independently by various
other well-respected studies [5-8].
It is however, the contention of the current work that when
deducing from the data for South Korea, Japan and Southeast
Asia, the WHO may have been a little too hasty in its declaration.
One is reminded of the WHO’s pronouncement in October 2015
that consumption of red meat may be carcinogenic [11-13]. The
current author clarified the facts in that case with reference
, as he is trying to clarify the data in the current work. In
fact, air pollution in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia does not seem as likely as smoking tobacco to be the cause of the
mortality figures calculated by the WHO. The current work has
logically deliberated on the data to deduce that smoking tobacco
is a better agent of blame for the countries under discussion.