air pollution Current Affairs

Worsening air quality major cause of premature deaths in India: Study

According recent research, worsening air quality in last two decades has emerged as one of major reasons for high numbers of premature deaths in India. The research was conducted by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi in collaboration with environmental NGO Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED).


The study was conducted 11 north Indian cities i.e. seven in Uttar Pradesh (Allahabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Varanasi and Gorakhpur), three in Bihar (Patna, Muzaffarpur and Gaya) and one in Jharkhand (Ranchi). It calculated annual mortality burden through averages of recorded deaths caused due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Acute Lower Respiratory Infection (ALRI), coronary disease, stroke, and lung cancer in these 11 cities. It also used satellite-based high-resolution PM2.5 database to generate particulate matter statistics for past 17 years.

Key Findings of Research

The annual mortality linked to air pollution was in range of 150-300 persons per 1 lakh population. Kanpur recorded highest number of premature deaths per year (4,173) due to chronic exposure to air pollution, followed by Lucknow (4,127), Agra (2,421), Meerut (2,044), Varanasi (1,581), Allahabad (1,443) and Gorakhpur (914).

COPD was largest cause of deaths (at 29.7%) and lung cancer the lowest (0.6%). The largest share in total burden was attributed to ALRI in Agra and Meerut and to COPD in Allahabad, Gaya, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Lucknow, Patna, Muzaffarpur and Varanasi.

The estimates were not instant deaths, but represented premature (earlier than expected lifetime of Indian population) deaths due to chronic exposure from pollution. This premature mortality burden will be reduced by 14 to 28% annually if these cities achieve of Indian air quality standards.

The mean annual ambient fine particulate matter (PM) concentration was 75-120% higher than Indian annual air quality standard in 10 of 11 cities. The residential (cooking, heating and lighting) sources are largest contributors to annual ambient PM2.5 concentration (73.8%). Moreover, analysis of aerosol composition indicates higher percentage of sulphates, organic carbons and black carbon emitted primarily from anthropogenic sources.


India saw 211 tuberculosis cases per 1,00,000 population in 2016: WHO

According to World Health Statistics 2018 released by World Health Organisation (WHO), India saw estimated 211 cases of tuberculosis (TB) per 1,00,000 people in 2016. India has pledged to eradicate tuberculosis by 2025, five years ahead of global target set by WHO. WHO’s annual World Health Statistics reports present most recent health statistics for WHO Member States.

Key highlights of World Health Statistics 2018

Tuberculosis (TB): Globally, incidence of TB registered 19% decline over 16-year period from 173 new and relapse cases per 1,00, 000 population in year 2000 to 140 per 1,00,000 population in 2016. It remains high-burden disease and progress in fighting it, although impressive, is still not fast enough to close persistent gaps.

Cases reported in India were lower than neighbouring Bangladesh and Myanmar which recorded 221 and 361 cases respectively in this category. However, Nepal and Bhutan recorded fewer number of TB cases per 1,00,000 population than India

Maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in India: It was 174 per 1,00,000 births in 2015. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 is to lower MMR for all countries to less than 70 per 1,00,000 births.

Air pollution: Deaths due to air pollution was concerned, age-standardised mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution (per 1,00,000 population) in 2016 was 184.3% in India.

Per capita health expenditure in India: It was around US $63 in 2015, way lower than China (US $426), while in Pakistan it was $38.