Despite global efforts to improve air quality, about half of the world's population is being exposed to increased levels of air pollution, a new study reports.

According to Science Alert, the consequences of polluted air are more deadly than war, violence and many diseases for much of the world's people. Overall, the World Health Organization has estimated that more than four million deaths annually can be attributed to outdoor air pollution.

"While long-term policies to reduce air pollution have been shown to be effective in many regions, notably in Europe and the United States, there are still regions that have dangerously high levels of air pollution, some as much as five times greater than World Health Organization guidelines, and in some countries air pollution is still increasing," study lead Gavin Shaddick, chair of data science and statistics at the University of Exeter, said in a statement.

The study found that low- and middle-income countries see the highest burden, with the highest concentrations of dangerous pollution seen in central and southeastern Asia.

However, it can also be a problem here in the U.S.: Last year, for instance, research found air pollution had worsened in the United States in 2017 and 2018, leading to thousands of additional deaths, according to Science Alert. 

Killer smog: Climate and Atmospheric Science.

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