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Greece hit with pollution; more than 7,000 deaths annually

One in every 12 deaths in Greece is related to pollution, about half the rate recorded globally.

According to a report published by the US scientific survey approximately 9,800 deaths from a total of 122,000 in Greece in 2015 were related to pollution, i.e. some 8 percent.

The Lancet medical journal said that 7,216 deaths were the result of pollution.

The vast majority of these deaths were related to air pollution, while 257 deaths were partly or entirely due to water pollution and 1,422 deaths were associated with workplace pollution (mainly concerning indoor smoking).

The survey, headed by professor Philip J. Landrigan of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City, said some 9 million deaths across the world in 2015, or one in every six, were related to pollution. Most of them were in countries with low or medium incomes, led by Bangladesh and Somalia.

Pollution in Greece continues to be among the worst in Europe. Data published in a study by the European Environment Agency (EEA) showed that the concentration of fine particulate matter concentration on a day-to-day basis stood at 50 micrograms per cubic metre in 2015, right on the EU daily limit value.

In October 2016, a report said that Greece’s financial recession was leaving its footprint on the environment, which followed twenty years of huge improvements in Greece’s air pollution.

According to the report, a tripling in the cost of heating oil brought about larger changes as hard-pressed Greeks have switched to burning wood. Wintertime particle pollution increased by around 30% in Thessaloniki in 2013 and air toxicity worsened on evenings when fires were lit. Analysis of wintertime air in Athens shows that it is not just logs that are being burnt. Along with chemicals from wood burning, scientists found lead, arsenic and cadmium particles, showing that people are burning painted and treated wood, and also their rubbish, to keep warm.