An estimated 15,000 Delhiites were killed in 2016 owing to air pollution, says a study

An estimated 15,000 Delhiites died prematurely in 2016 owing to air pollution by particulate matter 2.5 in the year 2016, as reported by a new study. Long-term exposure to PM2.5 has been linked to the increased mortality rate amongst individuals, including cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and aggravated lung and heart conditions.

The study conducted has listed the national capital on third position reporting highest deaths because of air pollution. Beijing and Shanghai were ranked first and second with most untimely deaths at 18,200 and 17,600 respectively owing to the pollutant PM2.5.

Particulate Matter 2.5 is one of the major air pollutants. PM2.5 is the mass per cubic meter of air particles with the diameter less than 2.5 micrometers.

“Air Pollution is evolving as the main threat and there is a need for a strong air quality management system to overcome it. The Environment Ministry is finalizing a National Premier Action Plan to fight air pollution in Delhi,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, Director at the Center for Science and Environment (CSE).

The health repercussions of the pollutant PM2.5 are significant in megacities across the globe. However, the Asian cities are suffering the most due to this, said the report.

It further stated that the phenomenon of smog-hit cities has become so common in recent times that the term ‘airpocalypse’ became synonymous with polluted air.

This study on PM2.5 related mortality rate in 2016 was conducted in 13 megacities of India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh using an Integrated Exposure Risk (IER) model.

There were 14,800 premature deaths in Delhi, 10,500 in Mumbai, 7,300 occurred in Kolkata and 4,800 in Chennai in Indian megacities.

China, though, has already taken initiatives to control air pollution with set targets and strategy, there is a dire need for governments of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to enact air pollution-curbing policies, stated by the study.

The study also emphasized on the need for setting up decisive air quality targets by authorities and advocates of megacities for joint regional efforts to restrain air pollution.

Picture Credits: Clement Costa

Purandhi Mittal

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