Rising air pollution levels in India contribute to 1.24 million deaths in 2017

India’s air quality contributed to the deaths of 1.24 million people in 2017, a recent Lancet Planetary Health study has found.

The study, released November 6, found that more than 51% of the deaths were under the age of 70. The research was funded by the Indian government and the Indian Council of Medical Research.

An estimated 670,000 died from air pollution in the wider environment, and 480,000 from household use of solid cooking fuels.

The economic growth over recent years has also increased pollution levels. Two decades of rapid urbanization and exponential population growth have propelled India to the top 3 countries for GDP growth.  However, it has also seen the air quality decrease to dangerous levels. Indian Medical Authority’s President Dr Krishnan Kumar Aggarwal declared recently declared New Delhi’s air quality “a public health emergency,” while  toxic concentrations in the city’s air have reached 42 times what is considered safe levels.

Coal is the predominant source of energy in India, burning millions of tons at large coal-fired power plants. The high levels of pollution also come from waste burning, deforestation, and the agriculture and transport industries. 

Earlier in 2018 the World Health Organisation said India was home to the world’s 14 most polluted cities.

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