Pollution responsible for 2.4 million deaths in 2019 in India, says data

A recent study has suggested that pollution killed over 2.4 million people in the South Asian country in the year 2019. The study by Lancet Planetary health has stated that over 9 million people died as a result of pollution, across the world. The deaths have risen by over 55% in the last two decades. Air pollution caused by industrial exhausts and urbanization has resulted in 8% increase in deaths caused by pollution between the years 2015 to 2019.

USA is the only developed country in the top 10 list followed by Ethiopia. China and Bangladesh also made it to the list with China reporting deaths at around 22 million, due to air pollution. The list considers the deaths caused by heart diseases, lung cancer, stroke and other issues as being linked to air pollution.

In the country’s capital, air pollution gets peaked in the winter season between the months of October to January. New Delhi is amongst the worst cities in the world when it comes to air pollution. State officials report that India lacks a centralized system which will drive the pollution control efforts. Over 93% of the country is above the WHO guideline of 10 μg/m3.

Pollution remains more severe in the Indo Gangetic plain where pollution is more concentrated due to industry, mobility, energy, agriculture and many other activities. Biomass burning, crop burning, coal combustion are the leading causes.

PM 2.5 pollution is the leading causes of air pollution in India and Nepal. PM 2.5 means high concentration of ultra fine pollutant particles. They are emitted after combustion and are able to reach our lungs as well as enter the bloodstream which further leads to cardiovascular disease.

Richard Fuller, a leading author states that air pollution is overlooked in global developmental agenda even though it’s one of the biggest problems of this century. And Low income and middle income countries have to face the consequences. Funding and attention have increased only since the year 2015.

The economic losses which the world has faced due to air pollution are around 5 trillion USD in the last 2 decades. Putting a dent on the economies around the world. Sunil Dahiya, an analyst working at centre for energy and clean air states that the country needs to set out absolute targets in emission reduction across all sectors not just in cities, along with a accountability framework that will ensure effective and absolute reduction in pollution.

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