Pollution Current Affairs

India tops list of pollution-linked deaths: Study

According to new study published in medical journal The Lancet, India has topped list of countries with pollution-related deaths in 2015.

In India, 2.51 million people died prematurely in 2015 due to diseases linked to air, water and other forms of pollution. Of the 2.51 million deaths in India, 1.81 million were related to air pollution, 0.64 million to water pollution, 0.17 million to occupational exposure and 95,000 linked to lead pollution

Key Facts

Globally, air pollution was biggest contributor linked to 6.5 million deaths in 2015, ahead of water pollution (1.8 million) and workplace-related pollution (0.8 million).

Most of the pollution-related deaths — 92%— were reported in low and middle income countries, and in rapidly industrialising nations such as India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Madagascar and Kenya. China, with 1.8 million pollution-linked deaths in 2015, followed India.  Most of these deaths were due to non-communicable diseases caused by pollution, such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

India accounted for about 28% of an estimated 9 million pollution-linked deaths worldwide in 2015 and topped list of deaths linked to polluted air (1.81 million) and water (0.64 million).

China (1.58 million) was placed after India in deaths linked to air-pollution, followed by Pakistan (0.22 million), Bangladesh (0.21 million) and Russia (0.14 million). In deaths linked to water pollution, Nigeria (0.16 million) and Pakistan (74,000) were placed after India.

The Lancet study concluded that pollution is now largest environmental cause of disease and death globally — three times more those from HIV-AIDS, TB and malaria put together. It also found that pollution from outdoor and indoor air, water and soil contamination, and chemical pollutants was one of largest risk factors leading to premature death.

Background

For the study, researchers had used data from Global Burden of Disease study, which brings together comprehensive estimates on effects of pollution on health, provides economic costs, and reveals the extent of contaminated sites across world for first time. Its aim was to raise global awareness on pollution, end neglect of pollution-related diseases, and mobilise resources and political will to effectively confront pollution.

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Air pollution affects children’s memory: Study

According to study published in journal Environmental Pollution, exposure to air pollution can have damaging effects on children’s cognitive development and reduce their working memory.

The study has assessed impact of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon— a pollutant directly related to traffic during walking commute to and from school.

Key Facts

The study findings show that 20% of child’s daily dose of black carbon is inhaled during urban commutes. These short exposures to very high concentrations of pollutants can have a disproportionately high impact on health. The detrimental effects may be particularly marked in children because of their smaller lung capacity and higher respiratory rate.

Statistical analysis of findings also showed that exposure to PM2.5 and black carbon (BC) causes reduction in growth of working memory. The interquartile range increase in PM 2.5 and black carbon levels were associated with a decline of working memory by 4.6% and 3.9%, respectively, in expected annual growth.

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