Life ex­pectancy in In­dia has fallen by 2.6 years due to air pol­lu­tion: Study

It is now the coun­try’s third-big­gest cause of death among all health risks

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS -

Life ex­pectancy in In­dia has gone down by 2.6 years due to deadly dis­eases caused by air pol­lu­tion, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port by an en­vi­ron­ment think tank.

The re­port by the en­vi­ron­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion Cen­tre for Sci­ence and En­vi­ron­ment (CSE) re­vealed that out­door and house­hold air pol­lu­tion, to­gether, are caus­ing deadly dis­eases.

“Air pol­lu­tion is now the third high­est cause of death among all health risks rank­ing just above smok­ing in In­dia. This is a com­bined ef­fect of out­door par­tic­u­late mat­ter (PM) 2.5, ozone and house­hold air pol­lu­tion.

“Due to this com­bined exposure, South Asians, in­clud­ing In­di­ans, are dy­ing early — their life ex­pectancy has re­duced by over 2.6 years. This is much higher than the global tally of re­duced life ex­pectancy by an av­er­age of 20 months. While glob­ally, a child born to­day will die 20 months sooner on an av­er­age than would be ex­pected with­out air pol­lu­tion, in In­dia, they would die 2.6 years ear­lier,” the re­port re­leased by the CSE said.

While exposure to out­door par­tic­u­late mat­ter (PM) ac­counted for a loss of nearly one year and six months in life ex­pectancy, exposure to house­hold air pol­lu­tion ac­counted for a loss of nearly one year and two months, ac­cord­ing to the CSE.

“Thus, to­gether, In­di­ans lose 2.6 years,” it said.

The re­port said house­hold air pol­lu­tion con­trib­utes about a quar­ter of the out­door air pol­lu­tion in the coun­try. “The deadly tally bro­ken up by dis­eases The CSE re­port re­ferred to two re­view papers by sci­en­tists and said air pol­lu­tion can harm acutely as well as chron­i­cally

shows that chronic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease (COPD) due to air pol­lu­tion at 49 per cent is re­spon­si­ble for close to half of deaths, fol­lowed by lung can­cer deaths at 33 per cent, di­a­betes and is­chaemic heart dis­ease at 22 per cent each and stroke at 15 per cent. It is dis­turb­ing how COPD, lung can­cer and is­chaemic heart dis­ease dom­i­nate the du­bi­ous tally,” it said.

The re­port re­ferred to two re­view papers by sci­en­tists from the Fo­rum of In­ter­na­tional Res­pi­ra­tory

So­ci­eties and said air pol­lu­tion can harm acutely as well as chron­i­cally, potentiall­y af­fect­ing ev­ery or­gan in the body.

“Ac­cord­ing to the study, ul­tra-fine par­ti­cles pass through lungs are taken up by cells and car­ried via the blood­stream to ex­pose vir­tu­ally all cells in the body. Air pol­lu­tion may be dam­ag­ing ev­ery or­gan and vir­tu­ally ev­ery cell in the hu­man body, ac­cord­ing to a com­pre­hen­sive new global re­view re­cently re­ported,” the CSE said.

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