More than 1.4 million people die prematurely every year in India due to household and outdoor air pollution, as mentioned in this article.An international team of researchers from India, China, Canada and the US as a part of the University of British Columbia research, estimated that despite efforts to limit future emissions, the number of premature deaths linked to air pollution will climb over the next two decades unless more aggressive targets are set.About 1.6 million people died of air pollution in China and 1.4 million died in India in 2013.The study has been presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Power plants, industrial manufacturing, vehicle exhaust and burning coal and wood all release small particles into the air that are dangerous to a person’s health.In an effort to tackle air pollution, the New Delhi government launched initiatives on tackling mainly vehicular pollution in January this year. However, a multi pronged approach is need to tackling all sources of air pollution.
We conducted an interview a year ago with Dr. Vikram Jaggi. He is the Medical Director of the Asthma, Chest & Allergy Centres in New Delhi. According to him, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is huge issue and over 3 billion people ( about half the world’s population), are exposed to smoke from biomass fuel. That is more than about 1 billion people who smoke. Exposure to biomass smoke may be a bigger factor in causing COPD globally than cigarette smoke. Studies from our own country show that 25—45% of patients with COPD have never smoked. The burden of non-smoking COPD is therefore much higher than previously believed.Countries such as India face this problem more. It is further compounded by the fact that such homes are small and very poorly ventilated. Women and children are exposed to this smoke. The effects on the lung health are well-known – frequent respiratory infections, chronic cough, pneumonias, aggravation of asthma and development of COPD.
To read this interview, click here.