New Delhi, Dec 6 : Air pollution has emerged as a bigger killer than previously thought, with one out of every eight deaths in India being attributable to it, says a latest study.
Four lakh deaths in India in 2017 were due to air pollution, which included 6.7 lakh deaths due to outdoor particulate matter air pollution and 4.8 lakh deaths due to household air pollution. More than half of the 12.4 lakh deaths in India blamed on air pollution in 2017 were among those below 70 years, says the study conducted by India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative.
The study, which is the first comprehensive estimates of deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy reduction associated with air pollution in each state, was published on Thursday by the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Air pollution contributes to a higher disease burden in India than tobacco use. It causes lower respiratory infections, chronic obstructive lung disease, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, and lung cancer, the study said.
The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative is a joint initiative of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, along with experts and stakeholders associated with more than 100 Indian institutions. These research findings have been published in The Lancet Planetary Health.
In fact, the average life expectancy in India would have been 1.7 years higher if the air pollution level were less than the minimal level causing health loss. As much as 77 per cent of India’s population was exposed to outdoor air pollution levels above the National Ambient Air Quality Standards safe limit, with the northern states having particularly high levels.
While on the postive side, exposure to household air pollution due to solid fuel use for cooking saw a decrease in India with the increasing provision of clean cooking fuel, however, the study felt that this effort needed to be sustained to address the still high levels of this exposure in several less developed states. (UNI)