Published: Fri, February 17, 2017
Health Care | By Jeffery Armstrong

Pressure mounts on India to tackle air pollution that now rivals China's

Pressure mounts on India to tackle air pollution that now rivals China's

According to researchers, India's air quality is no better than that of China, and it results in 1.1 million premature deaths every year.

Per the report, air pollution took 4.2 million lives prematurely all over the world in 2015, out of which 50 percent of the deaths occurred in China and India. While the death toll has remained steady in China since 1990, India's count has increased 148 percent in the same time period.

"India can not afford to remain complacent or on (sic) denial any more", Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director of research and advocacy at the Center for Science and Environment, said in a press release.

Whether India's responsible agencies agree remains to be seen.

Recently, Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave, in a written reply in Rajya Sabha, had said there was no conclusive data to establish that the deaths were caused exclusively by air pollution. "Air pollution could be one of the triggering factors for respiratory associated ailments and diseases", he said. "What we are trying to do is work in coordination with it", said Nadda.

New Delhi, the capital of India, had witnessed crisis like situation in November a year ago just after Diwali festival when air pollution broke almost every record, and the government was forced to close schools in order to prevent breathing problems suffered by the little kids.

"(India) has got a longer way to go, and they still appear to have some ministers who say there is not a strong connection between air pollution and mortality in spite of quite a lot of evidence, " Greenbaum told Reuters.

The report also contains the reading of a website on the issue, indicating that around 92 percent of the total world's population resides in areas surrounded by unhealthy air.

In India, rapid industrialization, population growth, and a vulnerable, aging population combine to make air pollution particularly deadly, Michael Brauer, professor of environment and health relationships at the University of British Columbia and an author of the study, told the New York Times. And although the US and Europe have made great strides in reducing people's exposure to air pollutants, 88,000 Americans and 258,000 Europeans still face increased risks of premature death from air pollutants.

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