AS DELHI grapples with severe air pollution crisis, experts have recognised the emergency of air pollution and called for new science, leadership and action to end it. While the annual death toll from air pollution dwarfed those of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, this issue did not receive equivalent attention, experts said at a session during the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health, which ended at Hyderabad on Saturday.
Air pollution kills 6.5 million people every year, three times more than HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria combined. Air pollutants increase the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, heart attack, diabetes and obesity.
Dr Sundeep Salvi, director of the Chest Research Foundation, Pune, India, said: “Life is the time interval between your first breath and your last, so the quality of the air that you breathe is a prime determinant of health.”
India is home to one in 10 of the world’s asthma patients, said Arumugam Sankar from Empower, in a statement issued here. An asthma sufferer himself, he talked about the need for asthma patients to follow key recommendations such as checking air pollution levels before venturing out, avoiding areas with high traffic burden and refraining from burning rubbish.
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