A study published in the Lancet shows that indoor air pollution is the major reason for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in the country.
- The study conducted by Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiologic (PURE), published in The Lancet observed that 12% of all CVDs in low-income countries are attributed to household air pollution.
- The report attributes hypertension as the largest reason for CVDs in low-income countries followed by non-HDL Cholesterol and household air pollution.
- While CVDs are a major threat in low-income countries with three times death due to cancer, in high-income countries death from cancer is twice that of CVD.
- The PURE study was also presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2019.
- For the study, 1,62,000 individuals aged between 35-70 years from 21 countries across five continents were studied for 9.5 years – 2005 to 2016.
- As per the study, mortality is high in low-income countries (LIC) despite low-risk factors and mortality is lowest in the High-income countries.
- In LICs additional factors like less healthcare, lower quality, lack of access to insurance, etc, are the reasons for high mortality.
- In India, indoor air pollution is a major risk factor for CVDs. It surpasses diabetes, tobacco use, low physical activity, and poor diet.
- In the country, 65% of the households use biomass fuel for cooking and heating purposes. Also, the use of mosquito coils, dhoop sticks and agarbattis lead to household air pollution.
While policies have been made to reduce the ambient air pollution that is pollution arising from vehicles and industries, it is time to develop policies to reduce indoor air pollution. Mortality due to CVDs can be significantly reduced if indoor air pollution can be checked.
An alternative to biomass fuels is to be promoted. The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is a significant scheme in this direction. But more needs to be done as households in the northern part of the country burn biomass for heating purposes during winter times. Cost-effective alternatives that are less polluting must be developed to check household air pollution.
Also, awareness must be generated regarding the harmful effects of indoor air pollution and activities that promote it so that people can make informed decisions.