Air pollution killed nearly 17 lakh people in India in 2019, accounting for an alarming 17.8 per cent of all deaths last year in India, as per a new scientific paper.
The economic loss which the nation suffered due to lost output from premature deaths and disease caused by pollution last year was estimated to be around ₹2.6 lakh crore. This figure nears 1.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) with Delhi suffering the highest per capita loss, followed by Haryana.
The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative published a scientific paper on the health and economic impact of air pollution in Lancet Planetary Health which documents the trends in health loss due to air pollution and its economic impact in all states.
As per the findings in the paper, the economic loss due to air pollution as a percentage of the state GDP was higher in the northern and central Indian states, with the highest rates in Uttar Pradesh (2.2 per cent of GDP) and Bihar (2 per cent of GDP).
NITI Aayog member Prof Vinod Paul said the scientific paper presents the latest evidence on air pollution in India, translating the health loss to economic impact reported, NDTV.
He also said that air pollution and its impact is not a matter for the health sector alone, and the solutions lie in taking up a multi-sectoral approach.
ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said that various government schemes such as the 'Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana'' and 'Unnat Chulha Abhiyan'' have helped in reducing household air pollution in the country.
He further added that this success encourages the states to enhance efforts to reduce outdoor air pollution as well.
Bhargava also said that the findings in this analysis denote the impact of air pollution on human health with 40 per cent of the disease burden due to air pollution resulting from lung diseases, the remaining 60 per cent is from ischemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes and neonatal deaths related to preterm birth.
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