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Air pollution 5th leading cause of death in India

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  • Feroza Saran
    Publication: The Times Of India Mumbai; Date: Feb 14, 2013; Section: Times Nation; Page: 15 Air pollution 5th leading cause of death in India TIMES NEWS
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 15, 2013
      Publication: The Times Of India Mumbai;
      Date: Feb 14, 2013;
      Section: Times Nation;
      Page: 15

      Air pollution 5th leading cause of death in India

      New Delhi: Air pollution is the fifth leading cause of death
      in India after high blood pressure, indoor air pollution, tobacco smoking and
      poor nutrition, with about 620,000 premature deaths occurring from air
      pollution-related diseases. India faces an unprecedented public health crisis
      due to air pollution, the Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) analysis
      of government data and the Global Burden of Disease report’s data on India has

      The green think tank released its own
      assessment and the global study’s India specific data on Wednesday warning
      that the number of premature deaths due to air pollution had increased
      six-fold over the last 10 years.

      Air pollution
      is now the seventh leading cause behind the loss of about 18 million healthy
      years of life in India due to illness. It comes after indoor air pollution,
      tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, childhood underweight, low nutritional
      status, and alcohol use.

      CSE’s own assessment
      of the air pollution data generated by the government painted the grim facts
      that are leading to the public health crisis.

      “Close to half of cities are reeling under
      severe particulate pollution while newer pollutants like nitrogen oxides,
      ozone and- air toxics are worsening the public health challenge,” CSE
      estimates say. Half of the urban population breathes air laced with
      particulate pollution that has exceeded the safety standards. As much as one
      third of urban population is exposed to critical level of particulate
      pollution. Smaller cities are among the most polluted in the country.

      The data is a damning indictment of India’s
      supposed growing urban regions. Out of the 180 cities that are monitored, only
      two towns — Malapuram and Pathanamthitta —in Kerala meet the low pollution
      norms (pollution levels remaining at 50% below the standard) for all

      About 78% cities (141 cities)
      exceed the standard set for particulate matter of size below 10 microns
      (PM10). As many as 90 cities have critical levels of PM10 and of this, 26
      cities have most critical levels of PM10, exceed the standard by more than 3
      times. Gwalior, West Singbhum, Ghaziabad, Raipur, and Delhi are top five
      critically polluted cities.

      The data analysis
      shows the situation is only getting worse with time. “The PM10 monitoring
      network has doubled between 2005 and 2010 – it has increased from 96 to 180
      cities. During this period the cities with low level of pollution has fallen
      from 10 to 2 and the number of critically polluted cities have increased from
      49 to 89 cities. In 2005 about 75% of cities exceeded the standard. In 2010, a
      total of 78% of cities are exceeding the standard,” CSE said.

      Warning that vehicular pollution will continue
      to be the most important reason for concern in coming years as cities grow and
      get more densely populated, CSE has advocated that the National Ambient Air
      Quality Standards should be made legally binding.
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