Children’s day comes with a grim reminder of growing health risk from worsening environmental risks, especially air pollution

Centre for Science and Environment expresses deep shock at the dubious death tally and massive loss of healthy live years due to illness from growing air pollution in Delhi and the country. Today the leading medical and public health experts of India came together under the aegis of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to release the first ever systematic assessment of burden of disease at both the national and state level in India. The report notes progress in increasing life expectancy across the nation and in all states, although the improvements are varied substantially across states. But warn that air pollution remains the second most important risk factor nationally. Simultaneously the Report of the Lancet Commission on Health and Pollution has looked at the full range of environmental health risks reporting, based on the systematic Global Burden of Disease estimate. This shows some 9 million deaths occur each year worldwide due to air water and chemical exposures. Air pollution is at the top of the list, with outdoor and indoor air pollution contributing the lion's share, some 6 million deaths. India remains one of the worst affected where 1.9 million premature deaths occur due to outdoor and indoor air pollution. This strong evidence makes it clear that comprehensive and long-term strategies for reducing air pollution are critical to protecting public health. 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.

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