With copious amounts of smog in the air, pollution in Delhi has reached an alarmingly high level. A green body was called upon for the implementation of an emergency plan to combat the current situation. The Lancet journal recently stated that air pollution is the second leading cause for health risk in India.
The Centre for Science and Environment has expressed concern for the loss of healthy lives in the national capital and other parts of the country due to increasing air pollution. They also said that there is an urgent need to come up with an action plan for combating the current situation and making efforts to maintain clean air in a limited time-frame.
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“Ensure massive energy transition to bring clean fuels in transport, industry, power sector and in households and paradigm shift in waste management to control waste burning, construction waste and crop waste,” it explained.
The Lancet study reveals that outdoor air pollution accounted for 6% of total disease burden in India in the year 2016. Due to high pollution levels, the disease burden of non-communicable disease continued to be high from 1990 to 2016. Diseases like cardiovascular and respiratory infections were common, it explained.
“This strong evidence makes it clear that comprehensive and long-term strategies for reducing air pollution are critical to protecting public health,” the CSE said in a statement. “At the same time they note that this is likely an underestimate, there are many exposures for which the data is not yet strong enough to quantify the effects,” it said.
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The CSE also made a reference to a study about the children growing up in Delhi in another journal, the Journal of Indian Pediatrics, which had strong evidence to prove the fact that kids growing up in the polluted cities have a reduce growth rate of lungs unlike developed countries like USA.
Though the growth rate of kids in US and India is almost the same, till the age of eight the lungs complete their physical growth. However, difference has been spotted in the progressive difference of the countries.
The study was carried out by the former Director-Professor at the Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute and now Head of Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Prof. S.K. Chhabra, at the Primus Hospital in New Delhi.
“If this does not wake us up to the health emergency, what will? Those who are in denial of environmental pollution-related deaths and illness in India should understand that the scary death tally and illness of Indians and children makes a mockery of India’s growth story,” Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director of research and advocacy at CSE explained.
“India will have to do drastically a lot more to reduce pollution exposure and not less of it. It will be criminal not to act on the mounting health evidences and ask for more evidences from our own children, elderly and vulnerable. Indian lung is not different from others,” she added.