The New Global Study – the State of Global Air Report 2019 – noted that China and India accounted for half of the global deaths that are attributable to air pollution.
The Report was prepared by the Health Effects Institute (HEI) based in Boston, USA. It has worked in cooperation with the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, University of British Columbia and University and Texas.
- It has estimated that there were 5 million deaths in 2017 due to long-term exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution.
- Of these, 1.2 million deaths occurred in China and India.
- It has also noted that China’s regulatory reforms are reducing PM2.5 emissions in that country.
- As per the report, air pollution led to the reduction of life expectancy by 1 year and eight months worldwide. It has even rivaled smoking that kills a large number of people.
- This means that a child born today will die 20 months sooner due to air pollution than in the absence of it.
- The top ten countries where death due to air pollution was high in 2017 are China, India (, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, the United States, Russia, Brazil, and the Philippines.
- The report noted that air pollution has become a major cause of death than malnutrition or even malaria.
Life Expectancy Estimate :-
- This year, a new feature was included in the report called the life expectancy estimate.
- As per the Global Burden of Diseases 2016, collectively, life expectancy reduces to 20 months.
- But when calculated individually, exposure to PM2.5 reduces one’s life by 1 year, indoor air pollution by 9 months, and ozone by 1 month.
- The above-mentioned loss of life expectancy by 1 year and eight months is only a little less than smoking.
- But is above drinking impure water and lung cancer.
Risk Factor :-
- As per the report, in 2017, PM2.5 exposure was the third leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). This is only after high blood sugar and high body mass index.
- The burden of diabetes is large in China and India.
Indoor Pollution :-
- While considering deaths due to indoor air pollution, the report reflects the population size of the region and usage of fuel fossils.
- India has the largest number of deaths – 482000 – due to indoor air pollution and it is followed by China.
- In India, 60% of the population cooks using solid fuels. This percentage is only 32% for China.
- Combined, both the countries account for 46% of deaths due to indoor air pollution and 37% of DALYs worldwide.
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- Air pollution is becoming a great threat to India.
- The findings of the report add to the urgency of reducing air pollution in the country.
- But, the way things are going currently in the country, it is becoming challenging for the government to reduce the emissions.
- Already, a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) showed that emissions from the country are rising owing to more thermal power generation.
- Only by altering this course and rapid expansion of electric vehicles or more environment-friendly vehicles into our transportation mix can the government bring a change to the country’s air pollution scenario.
Otherwise, we shall be staring at a major healthcare scenario which is difficult to manage by the crumbling public health infrastructure.