According to a report based on a study published in The Lancet, more than 1.67 million Indians died due to the air pollution in India last year, including 116,000 babies who died in their first month of life.
The report, which carries out a comprehensive analysis of air pollution’s global impact on the newborn, found that nearly 20% of neonatal deaths in India were attributed to air pollution, outdoor and household particulate matter were the main reasons behind these deaths.
Globally, 476,000 infants died due to the adverse effects of air pollution. Nearly 64% of these were attributed to household air pollution, caused by the burning of solid fuels such as charcoal, wood, and animal dung; the rest due to exposure to PM2.5. India saw the third-highest increase in exposure to PM2.5 between 2010 and 2019 measured on a population-weighted annual average.
Calling air pollution the biggest health risk, the report highlighted that long-term exposure to outdoor and household air pollution contributed to over 1.67 million annual deaths from stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer, chronic lung diseases, and neonatal diseases, in India in 2019.
According to the Times of India, age-standardised, air pollution ranked 4th among major mortality risk factors globally, accounting for nearly 6.75 million early deaths.
Ambient PM2.5 accounted for 4.14 million deaths; household air pollution accounted for 2.31 million deaths, and ozone accounted for about 365,000 early deaths. China (1.42 million) and India (980,000) accounted for 58% of worldwide deaths attributed to PM2.5 in 2019.