1.4 Million Indians Die Due To Pollution


More than 1.4 million people die due to air pollution in India every year, claimed a recent study. The report comes months after World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that Delhi is the most polluted city in the world.

A new research recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) showed that 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to pollution. And, more than 55% deaths due to pollution occur in world’s two of the most populated countries China and India.

“Air pollution is the fourth highest risk factor for death globally and by far the leading environmental risk factor for disease,” said Michael Brauer, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health in Vancouver, Canada.

A team of researchers from India, China, Canada and the US present at the meeting further claimed that unless an ambitious target is introduced the numbers are likely to go up over next 20 years.

According to the WHO survey, Delhi air records 300 micrograms of hazardous small particulates PM 2.5s per cubic metre daily, which is about 1,200 percent higher than the safe standard. The small particulates level should remain restricted to 25 micrograms per cubic metre as per WHO guidelines.

Power plants, industrial manufacturing, vehiclur emission and burning coal and wood release hazardous PM2.5 in the air.

Situation in Delhi might be alarming but other Indian cities like Mumbai and Lucknow are not too far behind either. WHO report further said that India has 13 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world.

“India needs a three-pronged mitigation approach to address industrial coal burning, open burning for agriculture, and household air pollution sources,” said Chandra Venkataraman, professor of Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, in Mumbai, India.

For last few decades North America, Western Europe and Japan have worked extensively towards reduction of pollution by shifting to cleaner fuel and putting restrictions on electric power plants and factories.

“Having been in charge of designing and implementing strategies to improve air in the United States, I know how difficult it is. Developing countries have a tremendous task in front of them,” said Dan Greenbaum, president of Health Effects Institute, a Boston-based NPO adding, “This research helps guide the way by identifying the actions which can best improve public health.”

Air pollution ranks behind high blood pressure, diet and smoking as the fourth greatest risk factor for fatalities worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease study, done by the Institute for Health Metrics.

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Sanchari Ghosh

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