GUWAHATI: India with a population of 1.38 billion people living across states at different levels of economic, social, and health development, has one of the highest air pollution levels in the world. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study estimated the exposure to air pollution and its impact on deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy in every state of India in 2017. The study has been published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health. According to the report, 1 in 8 deaths in the country are due to air pollution and it resulted in 12 lakh premature deaths, which is 12.5% of all deaths in India. And, it is estimated that average life expectancy of Indians would be 1.7 years higher in the absence of air pollution. In India, Arunachal Pradesh is the least air polluted state. And, North Indian states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Haryana have worst ambient air quality and high number of deaths in these states is attributable to air pollution, as per the GBD report. Furthermore, it must be noted that, tobacco consumption also results in premature deaths in our population.
According to Amal Chandra Kataki, Director of Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), around 27 crore Indians are consuming some form of tobacco. Of all current tobacco users, ultimately one third or around 9 crore Indians will eventually have premature deaths. Again of all cancer related deaths, one third is due to tobacco consumption. It is estimated that, eight lakh people in the country die of cancer every year. Thus, tobacco consumption along with air and water pollution is emerging as major threat to Indian population’s health. Mechanisms that help to reduce air pollution should also be included in the Smart Cities Mission launched by the Government of India Also, air pollution due to vehicular emission is a major contributor and Government should stringently penalize vehicle owners who fail to adhere to vehicular emission norms, further said Kataki. Manigreeva Krishnatreya of BBCI said, in India the burden due to lung cancer in 1990 was at seventh position which rose to third position in the year 2016. It is just a matter of time before the cities of India are set to become the lung cancer capitals of the world. Curbing environmental pollution has inherent health benefits and could prevent cancer, which will have huge economic benefit in addition to preventing loss of valuable lives, added Krishnatreya.
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