Air pollution bigger killer than smoking: Study

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 06 Dec 2018

New Delhi, Dec 6 (IBNS): Air pollution in India makes more people ill than smoking, The India Express, citing The Lancet Planetary Health estimate on deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy reduction associated with air pollution, said.

“Over half of the 12.4 lakh deaths in India attributable to air pollution in 2017 were in persons younger than 70 years. 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,” it says.

“India has one of the highest annual average ambient particulate matter PM2·5 exposure levels in the world,” the article reads. “In 2017, no state in India had an annual population weighted ambient particulate matter mean PM2·5 less than the WHO recommended level of 10 μg/m³, 45 and 77% of India’s population was exposed to mean PM2·5 more than 40 μg/m³, which is the recommended limit set by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards of India.”

PM 2.5 particles are those suspended in air with diameter lesser than 2.5 microns.

According to the WHO, 14 of the 15 cities with the most polluted air are in India.

The Lancet Planetary Health report says India could learn from Mexico City and Beijing to check air pollution in New Delhi and other cities in India that experience extreme air pollution.

“The upsurge in respiratory problems in the winter months with peak air pollution is well known, but what is now also becoming better understood is that air pollution is a year-round phenomenon particularly in north India which causes health impacts far beyond the seasonal rise of respiratory illnesses. Air pollution is now the leading risk factor for chronic obstructive lung disease in India, and a major contributor to pneumonia and lung cancer,” The Indian Express quoted AIIMS director Randeep Guleria as saying.


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