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Air Pollution Caused 1.1 Million Premature Deaths In India During 2015, Global Report Suggests

15 February 2017, 7:00 am EST By Joshua King Tech Times
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New Delhi grapples with worst smog in 17 years
A recent report indicates that India is on an equal footing with China in terms of air pollution. Apparently 1.1 million premature deaths have been caused in India due to the low quality of air in the country.   ( Sigfrid Lundberg | Flickr )

A new study reveals that India will soon outpace its Asian neighbor, China in the context of increasing air pollution levels.

U.S.-based Heath Effects Institute, along with the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation released a report on Feb. 14, which indicates that 1.1 million premature deaths were encountered in 2015 due to increasing air pollution in India.

The same statistic applies for China as well, but the country has taken numerous measures to keep a check on carbon emissions and also to stabilize the level of air particulates in the atmosphere.

Michael Brauer, a professor at the University of British Columbia and the lead author of the study, states that this situation is the "perfect storm" for India.

Factors Contributing To The Pollution

The report states that the amount of a fine dust particulate matter known as PM2.5 has risen sharply and is largely responsible for the 1.1 million premature deaths in India.

Brauer believes that the country's growing industrialization, along with the rapid growth in population, are behind the rise of PM2.5 in India.

Statistics Supporting The Report

Per the report, air pollution took 4.2 million lives prematurely all over the world in 2015, out of which 50 percent of the deaths occurred in China and India.

Dan Greenbaum, president of Health Effects Institute stated that problems due to air pollution are on a rise worldwide and the new report states clearly why air pollution can be considered to be a major contributor to premature death.

The report also contains the reading of a website on the issue, indicating that around 92 percent of the total world's population resides in areas surrounded by unhealthy air.

Not A Big Issue For The Indian Government

The surprising fact is that, despite glaring evidence linking air pollution with deaths, there are some ministers who are reluctant to accept the connection.

"There is no conclusive data available in the country to establish direct correlation-ship of death exclusively with air pollution," said Anil Madhav Dave, India's environment Minister.

While the Indian government has never denied the negative impact of air pollution on human health, it is not supportive of the evidence provided by various studies. The government is reluctant to accept the data, which clearly shows that a link exists between air pollution and mortality.

The Indian government is backing its stance by stating that the premature deaths could also be the result of other factors like bad food habits, socio economic status, medical history, immunity and many other aspects.

Photo: Sigfrid Lundberg | Flickr

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