State of Global Air Current Affairs - 2019
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The US-based organisation Health Effects Institute (HEI) has released the State of Global Air 2019. The findings of the Study are:
- Overall long-term exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution contributed to nearly five million deaths from stroke, diabetes, heart attack, lung cancer, and chronic lung disease in 2017.
- Out of these, three million deaths are directly attributed to PM 2.5, half of which were from India and China.
- South Asia viz. Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan is the most polluted region, with over 1.5 million air-pollution-related deaths.
- China and India together were responsible for over half of the total global attributable deaths from air pollution in 2017.
- The life of a South Asian child born today is shortened by two years and six months growing up in current high levels of air pollution, while the global life expectancy loss is 20 months.
- Worldwide, air pollution is responsible for more deaths than many better-known risk factors such as malnutrition, alcohol use and physical inactivity.
- More people globally die from air pollution-related diseases than from road traffic injuries or malaria every year.
- Nearly half of the world’s population, a total of 3.6 billion people — were exposed to household air pollution in 2017.
- Rapid phasing out of fossil fuels could prevent three million premature deaths annually worldwide.
Findings about India
- Exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution contributed to over 1.2 million deaths in India in 2017.
- Air pollution is the third highest cause of death among all health risks, ranking just above smoking in India.
- In India, 60 per cent of the population still uses solid fuels. This underscores the importance of achieving success in government initiatives to address the problem.
- Household air pollution can be a major source of impact in outdoor air, with indoor pollution emitted to the outdoor air being the largest cause of health impacts from among all sources in India, contributing to one in four outdoor air pollution-related deaths.
The report notes that India has initiated major steps to address pollution sources like the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, accelerated Bharat Stage VI clean vehicle standards and the new National Clean Air Programme. These and other future initiatives have the potential if fully implemented as part of a sustained commitment to air quality, to result in significant health benefits in coming years.