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A study has claimed that pollution killed 24 lakh people in India in a year. The study in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health blamed pollution of all types for 90 lakh deaths a year globally while the deaths due to dirty air from automobiles and industries have been rising 55% since 2000. Air pollution from industry processes along with urbanization drove a 7% increase in pollution-related deaths from 2015 to 2019, according to the scientists’ analysis of data on global mortality and pollution levels.

The US is the only fully industrialised country in the top 10 nations for total pollution deaths, ranking 7th with 142,883 deaths blamed on pollution in 2019, sandwiched between Bangladesh and Ethiopia.

The world's most populated country China reported almost 22 lakh deaths a year because of pollution.

Pollution kills about the same number of people a year around the world as cigarette smoking and second-hand smoke combined, the study said.

According to Philip Landrigan, director of the Global Public Health Program and Global Pollution Observatory at Boston College, the death certificates don't mention pollution as the reason, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, other lung issues, and diabetes that are “tightly correlated" with pollution are mentioned.

In New Delhi, India, air pollution peaks in the winter months, and last year the city saw just two days when the air wasn't considered polluted. It was the first time in four years that the city experienced a clean air day during the winter months.

That air pollution remains the leading cause of death in South Asia reconfirms what is already known, but the increase in these deaths means that toxic emissions from vehicles and energy generation is increasing, said Anumita Roychowdhury, a director at the advocacy group Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi.

“This data is a reminder of what is going wrong but also that it is an opportunity to fix it," Roychowdhury said.

Pollution deaths are soaring in the poorest areas, experts said.

“This problem is worst in areas of the world where the population is most dense (e.g. Asia) and where financial and government resources to address the pollution problem are limited and stretched thin to address a host of challenges including health care availability and diet as well as pollution," said Dan Greenbaum, president of the Health Effects Institute, who wasn't part of the study.

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