Sat. Oct 1st, 2022
air pollution in india

NEW DELHI, INDIA: According to a new report published on Tuesday, more than 6.6 million people died prematurely as a result of air pollution in 2019, with India accounting for 1.67 million, or 17.8% of these deaths.

According to a research published in the Lancet Planetary Health, nine million people died as a result of pollution in 2015, the same amount as in 2015. The nine million deaths represent one in every six deaths globally.

According to the research, water pollution caused 1.36 million premature deaths, lead exposure caused another 900,000, and hazardous occupational risks caused another 870,000 early deaths.

Ambient air pollution, which refers to air in normal conditions, claimed the lives of 4.5 million people in 2019, up from 4.2 million in 2015 and 2.9 million in 2000.

India made steps to combat home air pollution, most notably through the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana programme, according to the study, but it still had the highest estimated number of air pollution-related fatalities in the world.

“While India has created tools and regulatory authority to limit pollution sources, there is no centralised mechanism in place to coordinate pollution control activities and make significant gains.” The quantity of pollution in 93 percent of India remained significantly over WHO standards of 10 g/m3, according to the report.

The Indo-Gangetic Plain, where geography and weather concentrate pollution from energy, mobility, industry, agriculture, and other activities, is the most polluted, according to the research. In India, domestic biomass burning was the leading cause of air pollution mortality, followed by coal combustion and crop burning. In India, population-weighted mean exposure to ambient air pollution peaked at 95mg/m3 in 2014, dropped to 82mg/m3 by 2017, and has been steadily rising again recently.

The majority of the 1.67 million fatalities in India due to air pollution — 098 million — were caused by high PM2.5 pollution. According to the research, 0.61 million people died as a result of home air pollution, with India having the highest ambient PM2.5 levels — on a population-weighted average — followed by Nepal.

PM2.5 pollution is defined as a high concentration of ultra-fine particles generated during combustion, which can penetrate deep into the lungs and into the circulation, causing cardiovascular illnesses.

“Pollution’s health effects are still considerable, and low- and middle-income nations bear the brunt of it. Pollution prevention is generally disregarded in the international development agenda, despite its tremendous health, social, and economic implications,” said Richard Fuller, main author of the report.

“Despite well-documented increases in public concern about pollution and its health implications, attention and financing have only grown marginally since 2015,” he continued.

The new report uses data from the 2015 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) research to update the 2017 Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health.

The new study includes revised estimates for pollution’s health consequences based on the most recent GBD data and methodological revisions, as well as a trend analysis since 2000.

The number of people killed by hazardous chemical pollutants climbed from 0.9 million in 2000 to 1.7 million in 2015 and 1.8 million in 2019. Overall, mortality due to contemporary pollution have grown by 66% in the last two decades, from an estimated 3.8 million in 2000 to 6.3 million in 2019.

Pollution-related mortality resulted in economic losses of $4.6 trillion in 2019, accounting for 6.2 percent of worldwide economic output.

Traditional pollution cost Ethiopia 6.4 percent of GDP in 2000, Nigeria 5.2 percent, and India 3.2 percent. Traditional pollution-related deaths in Ethiopia and Nigeria were a third of those in 2000, while in India, they were less than half of those in 2000. As a result, pollution-related economic losses as a percentage of GDP have significantly decreased.

“However, conventional pollution causes economic losses in India of about 1.0 percent of GDP… Between 2000 and 2019, economic losses from contemporary types of pollution climbed as a percentage of GDP in India, China, and Nigeria, and are currently conservatively projected to represent about 1.0 percent of GDP in each of these nations.”

Indian fire stoves (choolahs) are traditional sources of pollution, whereas industries are modern sources.

Experts also believe that previous improvements must be maintained if India is to fulfil its objectives.

“While Indian cities have achieved progress in decreasing air pollution levels in recent years, the majority of those gains have been lost in the last year as fossil fuel usage has increased following the relaxation of Covid-19 limits. The simple reason for India’s inability to provide breathable air to its citizens is that we fail to implement policies like the National Clean Air Programme or any other measure aimed at reducing environmental pollution, as the regulator and even the ministry in charge of the environment at times acts as merely a facilitator of permissions for polluting activities to expand. To guarantee absolute and effective pollution reduction, we need absolute emission reduction objectives not just for cities but across industries, as well as a transparent accountability system.” said Sunil Dahiya, an analyst with the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

By adele rose

Adele Rose is the senior editor and employee of WGBS Pvt Ltd Digital wing.

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