With the rising population, effects of modernization and globalization, people want to have the best of everything and the urge is leading to the destruction of natural resources, amounting to an enormous increase in pollution of all sorts.
Of these, air pollution seems to be a major concern. The environment ministry on Thursday notified that India suffered over 35,000 mortalities due to acute respiratory infections (ARI) in the past decade.
The ministry also informed that 2.6 crore cases of ARI was reported annually in the last nine years (2006-2015). Of these, the most number of cases came from West Bengal trailed by Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Delhi.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar revealed about the deaths and registered cases in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
He said that in collaboration with Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata; the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) performed an epidemiological study on respiratory system, children’s lung functions, and the air quality of the atmosphere, stressing that air pollution is famous for being one of the provoking causes for several respiratory problems and cardiovascular diseases.
Teh minister also said that air pollution triggers several respiratory problems in children and adults like affecting the functioning of lungs, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that involves chronic bronchitis too, besides being a chief reason behind cardiovascular diseases.
Javadekar added that in order to curtail the effect of air pollution the government has planned many steps, involving reporting on National Ambient Air Quality Standards 2009, cleaner CNG/LPG or other substitute fuels, encouraging public transport network such as metro, proper infrastructure for treating industrial pollution, among various others.
This comes off after a new study by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) showed that natural-gas operated vehicles are equally hazardous for human health like other fuel choices of diesel or petrol albeit the former doesn’t evoke observable smoke.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, nearly 7 million people lost their lives to air pollution in 2012 with over half of the deaths occurring due to smokes from inside like cooking stoves.