Air pollution in Delhi responsible for up to 30,000 deaths annually: Report

CSE report says air pollution is one of the top 10 killers in the world and is the fifth leading cause of death in India


Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: Air pollution is responsible for 10,000 to 30,000 deaths annually in Delhi as it is the fifth leading cause of death in India, a report by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) revealed on Tuesday.

The publication “Body Burden 2015: State of India’s Health” released Tuesday also said that climate change is leading to greater frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

The publication, which comprehensively examines the linkage between environment and health, said that a number of public health catastrophes arising out of environmental reasons are staring people of India in the face. “The report has gone into areas such as vehicular pollution, industrial pollution, polluting cook stoves that cause indoor pollution, and related issues. The report states that death toll due to uncontrolled air pollution-related illnesses alone has increased worldwide by a whopping 300% in the last decade...

“...from 800,000 in year 2000 to 3.2 million in 2012. In Delhi, which was named as the most polluted city of the world by WHO (World Health Organization) in 2014, air pollution is responsible for 10,000 to 30,000 annual deaths,” it said.

CSE said that air pollution is one of the top 10 killers in the world and is the fifth leading cause of death in India. “It results in about 6,20,000 premature deaths which are caused by stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ischemic heart disease, lower respiratory infections and trachea, bronchus and lung cancer, among others,” the statement said, adding that the report highlights the heightened vulnerability of the poor and calls for stringent actions.

“The way forward would be to reduce the source of air pollution—mainly revamping our transportation systems and forcing the industry to come up with cleaner technologies. But people are not aware of these linkages and continue to junk public transport,” CSE director general Sunita Narain.

The report said that climate change is leading to greater frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and simultaneously, India has seen an increase in vector-borne diseases, such as dengue and malaria.