Air pollution causes highest number of deaths in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh

Air pollution killed 1.2 million people in India in 2017 says study

Representative image | Adnan Abidi Reuters

The analysis found long-term exposure to indoor and outdoor pollution contributed to nearly five million deaths in 2017, with fatalities resulting from stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer and chronic lung disease.

Kelly said that the report confirmed that India and China accounted for more than 50% of the 5 million deaths globally due to air pollution.

Air pollution will shorten the life expectancy of children by 20 months on average, with kids in South Asian countries such as India and Pakistan most vulnerable, a new report says.

The State of Global Air 2018 report estimated that if air pollution levels were brought within the United Nations health body's guidelines, Nepal's average life expectancy would increase by 4.4 years.

Children born in South Asia will live 26 months fewer than they would in an area with better air quality, while globally, life expectancy is lower by 20 months. The analysis found that China and India together were responsible for over half of the total global attributable deaths, with each country facing over 1.2 million deaths from air pollution in 2017, the report said. In India, over 1.2 million people lost their lives due to air pollution in 2017, according to a global report on air pollution released on Wednesday. Air pollution collectively reduced life expectancy by an year and 8 months on average worldwide. About 60 per cent of India's population was exposed to household pollution, followed by China with 32 per cent.

"When considered separately, exposure to ambient PM2.5 is responsible for just over 1 year, household air pollution is responsible for nearly 9 months, and ozone is responsible for less than 1 month of life span lost", it says.

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"A child's health is critical to the future of every society, and this newest evidence suggests a much shorter life for anyone born into highly polluted air", Health Effects Institute president Dan Greenbaum said.

"Out of these, 3 million deaths are directly attributed to PM2.5, half of which is from India and China together".

In the past few years, pollution levels have peaked at unhealthy and hazardous levels in the Kathmandu Valley, increasing health risks for citizens.

China has made initial progress, beginning to achieve air pollution declines.

Some of the risks for children from exposure to air pollution are potential damage to brain development, limited lung capacity and the onset of problems like asthma, he added.

India has another unique concern with regard to air pollution - a large population in the country still uses the old-school method of burning solid fuels like coal, wood, charcoal, dung, and other forms of biomass to cook food, and heat and light their houses. Could a report titled "State of the Global Air" with 21 mentions of India in the text of a 24-page report turn some heads, draw attention to the alarming health crisis brewing in the country?

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