Millennium Post - - Front Page - DHIRENDRA KU­MAR GAU­TAM LAHIRI

NEW DELHI: In a shock­ing rev­e­la­tion, it has come to the no­tice that one out of every eight deaths in In­dia was at­trib­ut­able to air pol­lu­tion in 2017.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­port re­leased by In­dian Coun­cil of Med­i­cal Re­search (ICMR) on Thurs­day, the air pol­lu­tion has hit the life ex­pectancy dras­ti­cally as the av­er­age life ex­pectancy at birth in 2017 would have been 1.7 years higher if the air pol­lu­tion level were less than the min­i­mal level caus­ing death loss. Pre­vi­ously, the av­er­age life ex­pectancy was 4 years higher.

The ICMR re­port as­serted that the high­est ex­po­sure to ul­tra-fine par­tic­u­late mat­ter, PM2.5, was in Delhi fol­lowed by Ut­tar Pradesh and Haryana. The con­di­tion is also not bet­ter in the states of Bi­har, Ra­jasthan, Mad­hya Pradesh, Jhark­hand, Odisha, As­sam.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, which is pub­lished in the Lancet Plan­e­tary Health jour­nal, Ut­tar Pradesh recorded the most 2,60,028 deaths at­trib­ut­able to air pol­lu­tion, fol­lowed by Ma­ha­rash­tra at 1,08,038 and Bi­har with 96,967 deaths. West Ben­gal re­ported 94,534 deaths due to air pol­lu­tion, the re­port said.

In­ter­est­ingly, the death fig­ure in Delhi is much lesser than other states, where air pol­lu­tion has never been an is­sue. The na­tional cap­i­tal re­ported 12,322 deaths, while neigh­bour­ing Haryana re­ported 28,965 deaths 90,499 peo­ple died in Ra­jasthan in the year 2017.

The find­ings of the re­port also in­di­cate that air qual­ity has sub­stan­tially im­proved in dif­fer­ent states due to ex­ten­sive us­age of LPG cylin­ders dis­trib­uted un­der the Prad­han Mantri Ujjwala Yo­jana.

“It's a fact that us­age of LPG cylin­ders has re­duced house­hold air pol­lu­tion as af­ter the launch of the scheme, the pro­por­tion of house­holds us­ing solid fu­els has im­proved. Now, about 56 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion still used solid fu­els in 2017, which was more in pre­vi­ous years. The pro­por­tion was much higher in less de­vel­oped states with over two-thirds of the pop­u­la­tion in most of the em­pow­ered ac­tion group (EAG) states us­ing solid fu­els for cook­ing,” said Bal­ram Bhar­gava, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of ICMR.

As per the re­port, In­dia re­ported 12.4 lakh deaths in 2017 due to air pol­lu­tion, which in­cluded 6.7 lakh deaths due to out­door par­tic­u­late mat­ter air pol­lu­tion and 4.8 lakh have died due to house­hold air pol­lu­tion.

The find­ings of the re­port stated that over half of the deaths due to air pol­lu­tion were in per­sons less than 70 years of age.

As per the re­port, In­dia has dis­pro­por­tion­ately high mor­tal­ity and dis­ease bur­den due to air pol­lu­tion and the bur­den is high­est in the low so­ciode­mo­graphic in­dex (SDI) states of north In­dia.

“Although air pol­lu­tion is com­monly thought to be as­so­ci­ated with lung dis­ease, a sub­stan­tial 38 per cent of the dis­ease bur­den due to air pol­lu­tion in In­dia is from car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and di­a­betes,” re­port said.

As per the study, an­other no­table as­pect of air pol­lu­tion in In­dia is its con­tri­bu­tion to the dis­ease bur­den from is­chaemic heart dis­ease, stroke, chronic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease and lung can­cer which are com­monly as­so­ci­ated with smok­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the WHO data­base of air pol­lu­tion, 14 of the 15 cities with the worst air pol­lu­tion in the world are in In­dia. NEW DELHI: In his first state visit to Myan­mar, Pres­i­dent Ram­nath Kovind will han­dover 50 dwelling units for the dis­placed Ro­hingya peo­ple from the Rakhine state to the Gov­ern­ment.

Pres­i­dent Kovind will un­der­take three days state visit to Myan­mar from De­cem­ber 11 to 13. For­eign Sec­re­tary Vi­jay K Gokhale while brief­ing newsper­sons said In­dia is build­ing 250 dwelling units for those dis­placed peo­ple. Dur­ing this visit, Pres­i­dent will hand over first 50 units. This hand­ing over of dwelling unit will send a mes­sage to both Bangladesh and Myan­mar Gov­ern­ments for the speedy re­turn of the dis­placed Ro­hingya per­sons, he said.

The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is still ex­press­ing con­cern about the law and or­der sit­u­a­tion of the Rakhine state and re­ports say that the sit­u­a­tion is still not con­ducive for the safe re­turn for the dis­placed peo­ple. In fact, Ro­hingya peo­ple who are now stay­ing in makeshift refugee camps re­fused to go back to Myan­mar. When asked about the sit­u­a­tion there, the For­eign sec­re­tary clearly said hand­ing over of dwelling units and assess­ment of the ground sit­u­a­tion was two dif­fer­ent is­sue. He said, “I want to dis­tin­guish be­tween de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance for sup­port­ing Myan­mar for build­ing the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture for the dis­placed per­sons and sit­u­a­tion in the Rakhine state.”

He also said the In­dia Gov­ern­ment has noted the agree­ment reached be­tween Bangladesh and Myan­mar Gov­ern­ment for the safe re­turn of the dis­placed per­sons. In­dia hopes that the agree­ment would be im­ple­mented soon and it's in In­dia's in­ter­est that

The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is still ex­press­ing con­cern about the law and or­der sit­u­a­tion of the Rakhine state

the dis­placed per­sons should go back to their re­spec­tive places.

In­dian Pres­i­dent is vis­it­ing Myan­mar af­ter a gap of 12 years. The Pres­i­dent will reach that coun­try on De­cem­ber 10 and his of­fi­cial en­gage­ment would start from the next day. On 11th af­ter cer­e­mo­nial wel­come Pres­i­dent will have del­e­ga­tion-level talks which en­com­pass a vast broad area of con­nec­tiv­ity, se­cu­rity, and re­view of on­go­ing de­vel­op­men­tal projects funded by In­dian LOC of about US$750 mil­lion. Many agree­ments are ex­pected to sign af­ter the talks which are still be­ing ne­go­ti­ated.

The Press Sec­re­tary to the Pres­i­dent, Ashok Ma­lik, said three MPS from the NE states are ac­com­pa­ny­ing the Pres­i­dent and it proves the se­ri­ous­ness of im­ple­men­ta­tion of Act East Pol­icy of the In­dia Gov­ern­ment, which di­rectly ben­e­fits North In­dian states. The MPS are Rameswar Teli, Ra­jen Go­hain and Bha­bananda Singh from Ma­nipur.

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