Every one in eight persons died of air pollution in India in 2017, stated The Lancet report. The report, which offered a detailed insight into the trend of air pollutants in various states of India along with their impact on health, stated that in 2017, 12.4 lakh deaths in India were due to air pollution. It included 6.7 lakh deaths due to outdoor particulate matter air pollution and 4.8 lakh deaths due to air pollution in households. Environmentalists have pressed for the immediate release of the National Clean Air Programme to curb air pollution. The report further highlighted that over half of the deaths due to air pollution were seen in those younger than 70 years of age.
Greenpeace India senior campaigner Sunil Dahiya said, “Finally we have the Indian study which emphasises the fact that not even a single person breathes air quality below WHO safety limit of 10 µg/m3 and only 23% people across the country breathe air quality below Indian standard of 40 µg/m3.
“The numbers indicate that we cannot afford to not act on reducing air pollution in an aggressive time-bound and targeted manner. The cost of our inaction is huge and expands to huge economic loss, welfare loss and morbidity along with 12.4 lakh deaths every year. The National Clean Air Programme should be released without any further delay incorporating the time bound pollution reduction targets across sectors with fixed accountability and strong legal backing,” he added.
The report also states that the average life expectancy in India would have been 1.7 years higher if the air pollution level was less than the permissible limit.