The Indian government had on Thursday said that more than 35,000 people had died because of acute respiratory infections across the country in the last 10 years. The Union environment ministry had earlier maintained that there was no conclusive evidence to support that air pollution is linked to respiratory diseases.
After sharing details of deaths linked to air pollution, the environment ministry informed the parliament that more than 2.6 crore of such cases had been reported every year during the same period.
Prakash Javadekar, the environment and forest minister, had stated that air pollution is one of the aggravating factors for a lot of respiratory ailments as well as cardiovascular diseases. Although the ministry generally avoids revealing details about deaths caused by air pollution, this time it shared statistics related to ARI deaths from the year 2006 to 2015.
The ministry had also listed the number of measures that were taken to minimize impact of air pollution. The minister had stated in his written response in Rajya Sabha while responding to a Parliament question on the impact of air pollution that asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc are some of the diseases caused by exposure to an increasing level of pollution.
Earlier in the month of May, the World Health Organization had published a report that showed that deaths caused as a result of air pollution had increased fourfold across the globe over the last decade with China and India being named as the countries that were far worst affected.
Recent study published in Environmental Science and Technology journal claimed that foul air is killing up to 80 people per day in Delhi alone. The analysis of government data by the Centre for Science and Environment and report by the Global Burden of Disease on India has named air pollution as the fifth leading cause of death in the country after high blood pressure, tobacco smoking, indoor air pollution and poor nutrition.
International studies have indicated that the number of deaths could be much higher than what has been reported.
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