As the country celebrates Diwali, questions about pollution levels are inevitable. A new report by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health has found that 2.5 million people died because of pollution in India in 2015.
This figure is the highest in the world. China has the second most deaths due to pollution at 1.8 million. One in six of all deaths in the world are caused by pollution and the majority deaths happen in developing countries.
Globally, the number deaths because of pollution was 9 million. This figure is three times more than the deaths caused by malaria, AIDS and TB combined.
“People in poorer countries — like construction workers in New Delhi — are more exposed to air pollution and less able to protect themselves from exposure, as they walk, bike or ride the bus to workplaces that may also be polluted,” said one of the study’s authors, Karti Sandilya
In developed countries, people commute in the AC and have AC offices, and are less exposed, he said.
Even though the Supreme Court banned fire crackers in Delhi-NCR, the pollution levels on Diwali night were very high. The pollutants had violated the 24-hour safe limits by up to 10 times.
According to the report, dirty air caused the highest number of deaths.
The report found that pollution from outdoor and indoor air, water and soil contamination, and chemical pollutants is one of the largest risk factors leading to premature death
“Until now, people haven’t recognized what an incredible hit pollution makes on the economy of a country,”said one of the study’s co-authors. “Pollution control can stimulate the economy because it reduces death and disease.”
The authors assured that pollution control is a winnable battle.