Worsening air pollution is responsible for at least 10,000 deaths a year in southern China, Hong Kong and Macau, according to a new study, AFP reported. The study, published by Hong Kong-based think tank Civic Exchange, also claims air pollution is to blame for 440,000 hospital bed days and 11 million doctor visits each year. The researchers estimate that the annual price of the pollution in terms of health costs and productivity losses is US$968 million. Much of the research focused on the Pearl River Delta area, where thousands of factories have sprung up over the last 30 years. Civic Exchange has called on the relevant government authorities to adopt an overall air-quality management framework, tighten air-quality standards and provide real-time pollution data to the public.