Survey: 61% of most polluted cities in India


By NewsGram Staff Writer

Various independent studies have revealed the extent of the harm caused by air pollution; it caused 3.2 million premature deaths in 2014 alone, and two-third of these deaths occurred in Europe, China and other rapidly developing countries of Asia.

delhi-pollution_660_050814010144Latest information compiled by Blueair, a global leader in mobile indoor air purification technologies, shows that air pollution is clearly linked to lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes and asthma, resulting in premature deaths every year in Europe, Asia and China.

A recent survey by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that 13 of the most polluted 20 cities in the world, that is 61 per cent, are in India. According to the survey report, Delhi is the most polluted city in the world. The recent Environmental Preference Index has ranked India 174 out of 178 countries for air quality. It has become a leading cause of premature death in India, with about 620,000 people dying every year from pollution-related diseases, says the WHO.

According to World Bank’s latest economic evaluation, the cost of serious health consequences from particulate pollution in India is assessed at 3 per cent of its GDP and the total damage because of environmental degradation amounts to Rs 3.75 trillion (US $80 billion). This is equivalent to 5.7 per cent of the country’s GDP.

The latest number crunching by the World Bank is an eye-opener. Its evaluation of the damage to health from a gamut of environmental factors—including air pollution, inadequate water supply and poor sanitation—shows outdoor air pollution takes the maximum toll in India. This is followed by indoor air pollution.

The combined cost of outdoor and indoor air pollution is the highest annual burden on India’s economy. Outdoor air pollution accounts for 29 per cent, followed by indoor air pollution (23 per cent).

The higher cost of outdoor and indoor air pollution is driven by high exposure of the young and productive urban population to particulate matter pollution. That leads to higher rates of deaths due to cardiopulmonary and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases among adults.

“The big problem is that most people do not see air pollution as a major issue, unless you live in smog beset cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata or Chennai. Obesity and alcohol grab the headlines, yet people don’t realize the insidious danger posed by modern air pollution. Thanks to a toxic mix of diesel fumes, dust and chemicals, just taking a walk in a modern city is turning men, women and children into passive smokers,” Mr. Rittri, CEO and founder of Blueair, said.

Mr. Rittri added that for air pollution to be addressed effectively, national health authorities need to work harder to flag awareness about the problem and the potential to save lives and reduce health costs.