As Air Quality Index (AQI) in National Capital Region (NCR) continues to see a steady dip, the global State of Global Air (SOGA) Report of 2020 has set alarm bells ringing. The report now lists air pollution as the largest risk factor for deaths among all health risks in India with infants being at the highest risk.
According to SOGA Report, 2020, long-term exposure to outdoor and household air pollution — which led to strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, lung cancers, chronic lung diseases and neonatal diseases — added up to nearly 16,67,000 deaths in the country in 2019.
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Air pollution has therefore emerged as the largest risk factor for deaths among all health risks, the SOGA report stated on Wednesday.
A detailed analysis of the data for 2019 reveals that about 60 per cent of deaths were caused due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), 43 per cent due to lower respiratory infection deaths, 35 per cent due to ischemic stroke and 32 per cent due lung cancer and ischemic heart disease with air pollution being the biggest trigger factor.
The analysis also outlines how more than 1,16,000 Indian infants died in their first month in 2019 owing to outdoor and household particulate matter pollution. There is substantial concrete evidence which indicates that particulate air pollution exposure during pregnancy is closely linked to low birth weight and pre-term birth.
Ambient particulate matter pollution and ozone pollution emerged as two of the biggest contributors to deaths across the world according to the report. In India, over the last decade, 3.73 lakh deaths were linked due to exposure to high PM 2.5 levels and 76,500 deaths were linked to high ozone exposure.