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Around 2.2 million deaths in India and China from air pollution: Study

Sanjeev Verma | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

Air pollution is the leading environmental cause of death on the planet and 92 percent of the global population is living in areas where the air is unhealthy, according to a new report.

The State of Global Air 2017 report states that extensive, long term exposure to fine particulate matter contributed to more than four million premature deaths in 2015.

The report is a joint effort between the Health Effects Institute and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evalution's Global Burden of Disease Project.

"We are seeing increasing air pollution problems worldwide," Dan Greenbaum, president of the Health Effects Institute, said in a statement.

"The trends we report show that we have seen progress in some parts of the world – but serious challenges remain," Greenbaum went on to add.

The report's analysis showed that India – with extra exposure and its aging population – now competes with China in terms of air pollution health burdens. Both countries saw around 1.1 million early deaths due to air pollution in 2015.

It is not just in countries such as China and India that air pollution is proving to be a problem.

Last year, a report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Physicians stated that exposure to outdoor air pollution is linked to roughly 40,000 deaths every year in the U.K.