>> More than half of the deaths from dirty air around the world coming from just two countries. A study from the US based Health Affects Institute released on Tuesday, says pollution in China and India killed 2.2 million people in 2015. The two countries now rank neck and neck as the world's worst offenders.
But as Reuters' David Stanway reports, one of them could be the clear number one before long.>> Both China and India have been undergoing a rapid economic transformation. They're the most populous nations on the planet. They've been experiencing really fast rates of industrialization. Energy use has soared, automobile ownership has also soared.
A lot of experts have said that China has started addressing this problem much earlier than India. They are at a more advanced stage when it comes to treating pollution and India still has to catch up.>> The report says India's rate of deaths by smog has shot up 50% since 1990.
Yet some top officials in New Delhi still deny a link between pollution levels and death. China may be making a pubic effort to clean up its air but it's also reluctant to draw parallels. The health ministry just last month saying it has no data linking air pollution to cancer.
That may have a less to do with statistics and more to do with politics.>> China is of course very politically sensitive about anything that's related to public health. They don't want to cause mass panic. They worry about the impact of health scares and environmental scares on public order.
And their priority is still to maintain stability.>> Global studies have linked pollution to higher rates of cancer, strokes, asthma and heart disease. And it's not just developing countries that are affected. Tuesday's study showing that a staggering 92% of the world's population lives in areas with unhealthy air.