Ozone pollution causing maximum deaths in India

India's dirty air a matter of grave concern


February 18, 2017

/ By / New Delhi

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Issues concerning death caused by air pollution made a steep and significant jump with a new report suggesting India to have the maximum deaths caused by ozone pollution. The new statistics are rather alarming.

For many years now, India has been a mainstay on the list of the most polluted countries in the world. In fact, it is only second to China. According to the ‘State of Global Air 2017’ report, among the 10 most populous countries and the European Union (EU), Bangladesh and India have the highest exposure to Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 and have seen a steep rise since 2010.

The results of the rising pollution have been rather evident in India with the percentage of ozone attributable deaths significantly rising. Globally, there was 60 pc rise in ozone-attributable deaths, with 67 pc of this increase occurring in India, the report said. The ‘State of Global Air 2017’ is the first of a new series of annual reports and accompanying interactive website designed by Health Effects Institute in cooperation with the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and the University of British Columbia.

Although the report put India and Bangladesh roughly at par, stats show that ozone pollution has been the cause of a high number of premature deaths in India with its toll 13 times higher than Bangladesh’s, and 21 times higher than Pakistan’s.

The formulation of the report was carried out by 2,000 researchers and projected the role of an extensive set of behavioral, dietary and environmental risk factors for more than 300 diseases in 195 countries from 1990 onward.

The report showed that the worsening air pollution caused some 1.1 million premature deaths in 2015 in India. “In 2015, long-term exposure to PM2.5 contributed to 4.2 million deaths and to a loss of 103 million years of healthy life. China and India together accounted for 52 pc of the total global deaths attributable to PM2.5,” it said.

Responding to these alarming results, Anumita Roychowdhury of the Centre of Science and Environment said, “India can’t afford to remain complacent or in denial. With so many people dying early and falling ill due to particulate and ozone pollution, it is a state of health emergency. This demands nationwide intervention to ensure stringent mitigation and a road map to meet clean air standards.”

“Ozone can aggravate respiratory illnesses, especially chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. The rate of increase in ozone deaths in India is scary,” she added.

“We’ve seen far more stringent action in China than in India. Large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have taken steps such as investing big in public transport to reduce air pollution,” she told the Indian press while commenting on the steps being taken to reverse the situation.

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