China, India record maximum number of deaths by air pollution
According to a report published by Health Effects Institute (HEI), headquartered in Boston, US, air pollution took over 12 lakh lives each in India and China in 2017. The State of Global Air report 2019 (SoGA), published yesterday, ranked air pollution as third highest (above smoking) cause of death in India, among other health-risks. Here are the details.
As per SoGA's site, "It offers most recent information and analysis on levels and trends in air quality and health globally." The report suggested that the life expectancy has gone down by 20 months worldwide due to air pollution. It noted, "This means a child born today will die 20 months sooner, on average, than would be expected in the absence of air pollution."
The report, analyzing the Global Burden of Disease 2016 data, stated, "When considered separately, exposure to ambient PM2.5 is responsible for just over 1 year, household air pollution is responsible for almost 9 months, and ozone for less than 1 month of life span lost."
Adding to this, the report further said that long-term exposure to levels of air pollution (indoor and outdoor) in 2017 caused 50 lakh deaths due to stroke, lung cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease. 30 lakh deaths were due to PM 2.5 (tiny particles with 2.5 microns or less width), and out of that, 15 lakh were recorded in India and China.
The report also noted, "Each year, more people die from air pollution-related disease than from road traffic injuries or malaria." In 2017, China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, United States, Russia, Brazil and Philippines were the ten countries, in descending order, with highest mortality rate due to air pollution. Air pollution took more lives than other health issues like, malnutrition, alcohol and physical inactivity.
Moreover, the study found out that in 2017, exposure to PM 2.5 was the third major risk factor, after high blood sugar and high body mass index, for deaths from Type-2 diabetes and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). It pointed out, "While rates of diabetes have risen across all countries, the largest burdens are found in China and India, reflecting in part their large populations."
According to the World Health Organization, "The sum of these DALYs across population, or burden of disease, can be thought of as a measurement of the gap between current health status and an ideal health situation where the entire population lives to an advanced age."