China, India record maximum number of deaths by air pollution

Over 1.2 million early deaths in India due to air pollution Report

The study states that nearly half of world population, about 3.6 billion people, was exposed to household pollution in 2017.

Ten countries with the highest mortality burden attributable to air pollution in 2017 were China (1.2 million), India (1.2 million), Pakistan (128,000), Indonesia (124,000), Bangladesh (123,000), Nigeria (114,000), the United States (108,000), Russian Federation (99,000), Brazil (66,000), and the Philippines (64,000), the report states.

Exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution contributed to over 1.2 million deaths in India in 2017, a new global study said on Wednesday.

"Air pollution exposures collectively reduce life expectancy by 20 months on average worldwide", University of Texas assistant professor Joshua Apte wrote in the report. 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, the report said.

"These and future initiatives have the potential, if fully implemented as part of a sustained commitment to air quality, to result in significant health benefits", he said.

Worldwide, air pollution is responsible for more deaths than many better-known risk factors such as malnutrition, alcohol use and physical inactivity, according to the annual report.

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In South Asia - Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan - 1.5 million died due to air-pollution related reasons, the study said.

30 lakh deaths were due to PM 2.5 (tiny particles with 2.5 microns or less width), and out of that, 15 lakh were recorded in India and China. "This shift would improve both indoor and outdoor air quality because burning of solid fuels in and around home also contributes to ambient air pollution", says the report.

Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, the United States, Russia, Brazil and the Philippines were the others in the list of 10 countries with the highest mortality rates attributed to air pollution.

A number of reports have stated that air pollution has been increasing exponentially in many cities in the country, with Delhi being cited as the world's most polluted capital city.

The study "State of Global Air 2019" released by the USA -based Health Effects Institute (HEI) produces latest information on air quality and health for countries around the globe. China has made initial progress, beginning to achieve air-pollution decline.

India has another unique concern with regard to air pollution - a large population in the country still uses the old-school method of burning solid fuels like coal, wood, charcoal, dung, and other forms of biomass to cook food, and heat and light their houses. In 1990, air pollution killed 1.32 million people in China compared with 1.02 million people in India. Could a report titled "State of the Global Air" with 21 mentions of India in the text of a 24-page report turn some heads, draw attention to the alarming health crisis brewing in the country?

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