A new report has claimed that more than half of the world’s air pollution-related deaths happen in India and China. The ‘State of Global Air 2017’ report said that the numbers in India for deaths due to air pollution are approaching that of China’s. It also said that among the top 10 most populous countries and the European Union (EU), Bangladesh and India have recorded the highest levels of PM2.5 exposure.
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The report also showed that 67 per cent of the total ‘ozone attributable’ deaths were reported from India. 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 (IHME) at the University of Washington and University of British Columbia.
Such an increase in air pollution and the role of India in the contribution towards it, prompts the question – what are the reasons for such drastic numbers?
1. In south Asia, especially in India and Bangladesh, a high percentage of people are exposed to PM2.5. These particles, which are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, are tiny enough to enter the lungs; and long-term exposure could even have harmful health effects. Sources of these particles include motor vehicle combustion, power plants, residential wood burning, forest fires, agricultural burning, and industrial processes; most of them which are prevalent in India and China. According to the report, in China, 11,08,100 deaths were attributed to PM2.5 exposure in 2015, while in India 10,90,400 deaths were reported for the same.
2. The report also found that increasing exposure and a growing and aging population are more reasons why countries like India, China, Japan and Bangladesh see such huge number of deaths due to air pollution. Both India and China faced nearly 1.1 million early deaths due to it in 2015.