PM2.5 concentration and use of solid fuels in the states of India, 2017. (A) Population-weighted mean ambient air PM2.5 (B) Proportion of population using solid fuels. Graphic: Balakrishnan, et al., 2018 / Lancet Planetary Health

NEW DELHI, 6 December 2018 (Press Trust of India) – One in eight deaths in India last year was attributable to air pollution, which contributes to more disease burden than tobacco use, a study said Thursday while asserting the highest exposure to ultra-fine particulate matter, PM2.5, was in Delhi followed by Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Around 1.24 million deaths in India in 2017 is attributable to air pollution, it said and termed air pollution a leading risk factor for deaths in the country where the average life expectancy would have been 1.7 years higher if the pollution levels were less than the minimal level causing health loss.

The study, published in the Lancet Planetary Health journal, asserted that with 18 per cent of the global population, India suffered 26 per cent of premature mortality and health loss attributable to air pollution globally.

Over half of the 1.24 million deaths in India attributable to air pollution in 2017 were of those aged less than 70, it said and asserted that 77 per cent of India's population is exposed to outdoor air pollution levels above the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) safe limit.

The northern Indian states had particularly high outdoor air pollution levels, the study said.

Uttar Pradesh, last year, recorded the most 2,60,028 deaths attributable to air pollution, followed by Maharashtra at 1,08,038 and Bihar 96,967, it said.

The first comprehensive estimates of the impact of air pollution on deaths, health loss and life expectancy reduction in each state of India said there were 607,000 deaths due to particulate matters outdoors and 408,000 deaths due to household air pollution. [more]

Over 1.24 mn deaths in 2017 due to air pollution in India, says study


ABSTRACT: The annual population-weighted mean exposure to ambient particulate matter PM2·5 in India was 89·9 μg/m3 (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 67·0–112·0) in 2017. Most states, and 76·8% of the population of India, were exposed to annual population-weighted mean PM2·5 greater than 40 μg/m3, which is the limit recommended by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards in India. Delhi had the highest annual population-weighted mean PM2·5 in 2017, followed by Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Haryana in north India, all with mean values greater than 125 μg/m3. The proportion of population using solid fuels in India was 55·5% (54·8–56·2) in 2017, which exceeded 75% in the low SDI states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha. 1·24 million (1·09–1·39) deaths in India in 2017, which were 12·5% of the total deaths, were attributable to air pollution, including 0·67 million (0·55–0·79) from ambient particulate matter pollution and 0·48 million (0·39–0·58) from household air pollution. Of these deaths attributable to air pollution, 51·4% were in people younger than 70 years. India contributed 18·1% of the global population but had 26·2% of the global air pollution DALYs in 2017. The ambient particulate matter pollution DALY rate was highest in the north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, and Rajasthan, spread across the three SDI state groups, and the household air pollution DALY rate was highest in the low SDI states of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Assam in north and northeast India. We estimated that if the air pollution level in India were less than the minimum causing health loss, the average life expectancy in 2017 would have been higher by 1·7 years (1·6–1·9), with this increase exceeding 2 years in the north Indian states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana.

The impact of air pollution on deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy across the states of India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017

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