New Delhi: The air Indians breathe turning more toxic by the day, and an average of two people deaths take place daily due to the air pollution, says a new study. According to the Lancet, a medical journal, which reports that over a million Indians die due to air pollution every year and some of the worst polluted cities in the world were in India country.
The study had been released this week but based on the data from 2010 had estimated that globally 2.7 to 3.4 million preterm births might be associated with the PM 2.5 exposure and the South Asia was the worst hit that accounts for 1.6 million pre-term births.
The study says that the causes of air pollution and the climate change were intricately linked and needed to be tackled simultaneously. The Lancet has also concluded that the climate change has posed both a “potentially catastrophic risk to the human health,” while conversely being “the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century” if the right steps were taken.
The Smog over the northern India was extracting a heavy toll, and every minute two lives were lost in India due to the ambient air pollution, the study published in The Lancet says. Further, according to an estimate by the World Bank, this would amount to a whopping of $38 billion loss in income towards labor in India.
Air pollution has arisen as the deadliest form of pollution, now, and it was the fourth leading risk factor for premature deaths worldwide, the reports says. Recently, 48 leading scientists released the study, and they have found that Patna and New Delhi as the worst polluted cities in the world for PM 2.5 levels or the fine particulate matter which hurts the human heart the most.
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The study also notes that a broader evidence base on interrelated health and climate change trends would notably help demonstrate clear co-benefits of action. An estimated 18,000 people die every day due to the air pollution exposure and making it as the world’s largest and single environmental health danger.
The World Bank, in turn, calculates it costs the global economy $225 billion a year in related lost labor income. Contradicting some of the Indian reports, The Lancet says that the coal-fired power plants contribute to 50 per cent of the ambient air pollution.
Anil Madhav Dave, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change has recently admitted in the Parliament that the country spends a mere Rs 7 crore annually on monitoring the air pollution for a vast country of India’s size with about 1.3 billion population.
He had said that no credible study to quantify many people who have developed lung and allied diseases or number of deaths directly as a result of air pollution is available.
Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan, a trained physician himself, says as quoted, “Pollution, when it starts affecting lungs especially in little children, could be a killer, it was like a slow poison. There is no reason for me not to be worried, and a lot has been done, but still a lot that needs to be done.”
Meanwhile, called The Lancet Countdown, this study would report annually in the Lancet. With the inputs from across the world, some 16 institutions were academic partners of the initiative, including University College London, Tsinghua University and the Centre for Climate & Security among others.
It was a unique collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) to promote synergies, collaborate on the data sources, and thus to ensure active engagement with the Ministries of Health.
Dr.Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Head of the Health and Climate Change team at the World Health Organization, says, “The Paris Agreement was a landmark achievement, and the challenge now was to meet the targets agreed by world leaders.
“The WHO was working directly with countries to provide evidence of the specific health risks that each of them faces, and the health opportunities of a resilient, with a low carbon future as well as the support that they require to respond to defining health issue of our time.”
According to the WHO, compared with a future without climate change, the following additional deaths for the year 2030 were projected, 38,000 due to heat exposure in older adults, 48,000 due to diarrhea, 60,000 due to malaria, and about 95,000 due to childhood undernutrition.
By 2050, the impacts of climate change on mortality were projected to be greatest in the South Asia. These results indicate that the climate change would have a significant impact on children health by the 2030s.
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