NEW DELHI : A comprehensive study that was meant to collect data on deaths, health loss, and life expectancy reduction in each state of India has found one out of every eight deaths in India is attributable to air pollution, which now contributes to more ailment burden than smoking.
The findings are a joint initiative of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India and Institute for Health Metrics and were released by the Director General, ICMR, Dr Balram Bhargava, on December 6, 2018.
The study shows that India with 18% of the global population has a disproportionately high 26% of the global premature deaths and disease burden due to air pollution. Over half of the 12.4 lakh deaths in the country attributable to air pollution in 2017 were in persons younger than 70 years.
The life expectancy in India would have been 1.7 years higher if the air pollution level was less than the minimal level causing health loss, it said.
Dr Bhargava said, “The research findings reported today systematically document the variations among all states, which would serve as a useful lead for making further progress in reducing the bad impact of air pollution in India.”
Dr S Venkatesh, Director General of Health Services, Union Health Ministry, told DTMT, “We are undertaking a number of initiatives for experts to convene in order to develop strategies that would increase awareness among communities on what each one of us could do to reduce the bad impact of air pollution on health, which would benefit from the state-specific findings reported by this study.”
Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Delhi, Haryana, and Punjab had some of the highest ambient particulate matter pollution exposure in India.