A woman wears a mask during a demonstration against rising pollution levels in Delhi on 6 November 2016.
Health News

Air Pollution 2nd Biggest Health Hazard in India in 2016: Lancet

Even as smog keeps its stranglehold on Delhi-NCR, a new report says air pollution was responsible for 9.8 percent of the total disease burden in India in 2016.

The latest Lancet report – India State-level Disease Burden – says there’s been a 17 percent rise in deaths and disabilities due to diseases caused by air pollution across the country.

Centre for Science and Environment’s Anumita Roychowdhury had this to say:

After child and maternal malnutrition, which was India’s leading risk factor for health loss in 2016, causing 14.6 percent of the country’s total disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), air pollution was the second leading risk factor in India as a whole.

Air Pollution led to over 2,750 cases of deaths or severe illnesses per lakh people in 2016. Leading cause of illnesses were non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease and respiratory infections.

States most affected due to air pollution included Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh

The states least affected by pollution were Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha.

This risk factor include both outdoor air pollution from a variety of sources as well as household air pollution that mainly results from burning solid fuels for cooking and heat.

“While the total burden from air pollution in India declined between 1990 and 2016, this was largely driven by efforts to reduce the use of solid fuels in households. Outdoor air pollution continues to pose a significant and growing challenge to population health," according to the study, conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Causes of Air Pollution

Outdoor air pollution increased due to a variety of pollutants from power production, industry, vehicles, construction and waste burning. The study, however, stated that burden of household air pollution decreased during this period due to decreasing use of solid fuels for cooking.

“Household air pollution was responsible for 5 percent of the total disease burden in India in 2016, and outdoor air pollution for 6 percent,” the report stated.

Last month, the Lancet Commission published a report which found that pollution caused over nine million deaths worldwide in 2015 – accounting for 16 percent of the deaths worldwide.

(With inputs from PTI/Lancet)

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