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What is the News?
According to a study published in the journal Science Advances, there is a rapid degradation in air quality and an increase in urban exposure to air pollutants hazardous to health.
What are the key findings of the study?
Premature Deaths due to Air Pollution
Air pollution caused more than 100,000 premature deaths in some of India’s largest cities from 2005 to 2018.
Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune recorded the highest number of such deaths.
Note: The study did not cover Delhi, Noida and Faridabad, which featured in the WHO’s list of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world.
Increase in Pollutants
The study found significant annual increases in pollutants directly hazardous to the health of up to 14% for nitrogen dioxide(NO2), 8% for fine particles(PM2.5) and 12% for ammonia.
There is also a 1.5 to four-fold increase in population exposure to air pollution in 40 of the 46 cities for NO2 and 33 of the 46 cities for PM2.5.
This rapid increase in exposure to air pollutants is due to population growth combined with road traffic, waste burning and widespread use of charcoal and fuelwood.
Premature Deaths due to exposure to PM 2.5
India had 123,900 premature deaths from long-term exposure to PM 2.5 in 2005 which increased to 223,200 in 2018.
Note: PM 2.5 are tiny particles or droplets that are 2.5 micrometres or fewer in width that are linked to a host of diseases and premature death.
Source: This post is based on the article “Air pollution kills: Study counts 100,000 premature deaths in 8 Indian cities” published in Down To Earth on 11th April 2022.