ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Costs of Breathing

Air pollution is a public health hazard that calls for effective long-lasting solutions.

The findings of research published in the Lancet Planetary Health validate that Indians suffer from disproportionately high mortality and disease burden on account of polluted air. The results are disquieting, for they point to a looming public health emergency that necessitates a renewed focus on mitigating the hazards of air pollution in India, which has one of the highest levels of exposure to air pollution levels globally. Until now, the extent and scale of the risks to health and longevity posed by air pollution in India were not fully recognised.

The study, conducted jointly by a team of scientists from different institutions spread across India, estimated the impact of exposure to air pollution—including ambient particulate matter pollution and household air pollution—across states in 2017, categorised into three socio-demographic index (SDI) levels, on deaths, disease burden and life expectancy. It revealed that in India, the annual population weighted mean exposure to ambient particulate matter, PM2.5, in 2017 was 89.9µg/m3, which was one of the highest in the world. None of the states in India could comply with the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended norm of ambientparticulate matter air quality of less than 10µg/m3. Moreover, about 77% of the population was exposed to pollution levels higher than 40µg/m3, the level recommended by theNational Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

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Updated On : 17th Dec, 2018

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