Air pollution fifth leading cause of death in India: Study

Air pollution is the fifth leading cause of death in India after high blood pressure, indoor air pollution, tobacco smoking and poor nutrition, with about 620,000 premature deaths occurring from air pollution-related diseases. Like China, India faces an unprecedented public health crisis due to air pollution, the Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) analysis of government data and the Global Burden of Disease report’s data on India has shown.

The green think tank released its own assessment and the global study’s India specific data on Wednesday warning that the number of premature deaths due to air pollution had increased six fold over the last 10 years.

Air pollution is now the seventh leading cause behind the loss of about 18 million healthy years of life in India due to illness. It comes after indoor air pollution, tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, childhood underweight, low nutritional status, and alcohol use.

CSE’s own assessment of the air pollution data generated by the government painted the grim facts that are leading to the public health crisis.

“Close to half of cities are reeling under severe particulate pollution while newer pollutants like nitrogen oxides, ozone and- air toxics are worsening the public health challenge,” CSE estimates say. Half of the urban population breathes air laced with particulate pollution that has exceeded the safety standards. As much as one third of urban population is exposed to critical level of particulate pollution. Smaller cities are among the most polluted in the country.

The data is a damning indictment of India’s supposed growing urban regions. Out of the 180 cities that are monitored for only two towns — Malapuram and Pathanamthitta — in Kerala meet the low pollution norms (pollution levels remaining at 50% below the standard) for all pollutants.

About 78% cities (141 cities) exceed the standard set for particulate matter of size below 10 microns (PM10). As many as 90 cities have critical levels of PM10 and of this, 26 cities have most critical levels of PM10, exceed the standard by more than 3 times. Gwalior, West Singbhum, Ghaziabad, Raipur, and Delhi are top five critically polluted cities.

via Air pollution fifth leading cause of death in India: Study – The Economic Times.

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