7.2% of deaths in 10 major Indian cities due to air pollution: Study

7.2% of deaths in 10 major Indian cities due to air pollution: Study

Study by medical journal The Lancet saw researchers from 2008 to 2019 analyze over 3.6M deaths

By Necva Tastan

ISTANBUL (AA) - Some 7.2% of deaths reported in 10 major Indian cities are caused by air pollution, a new study said on Thursday.

The study by The Lancet Planetary Health claimed significant associations between short-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and daily mortality rates across multiple cities in India, which last year surpassed China as the world’s most populous nation.

Done by an international team of researchers, this study is the first of its kind to analyze the acute effects of air pollution on mortality.

The research, from 2008 to 2019, encompassed over 3.6 million deaths.

Delhi, India's capital, saw the highest impact, with 12,000 deaths due to air pollution annually, or 11.5% of the total. The country's current recommendation of 60 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter (35.3 cubic feet) is four times higher than the guidelines from the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO).

Even cities with lower pollution levels, like Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai, had high death rates.

The study found a significant increase in mortality risk, suggesting that there is no safe threshold for PM2.5 exposure. This is particularly concerning given that air pollution levels in many Indian cities frequently exceed both Indian and WHO guidelines​.

Some 7.2% of all daily deaths in the cities studied could be attributed to PM2.5 concentrations exceeding the WHO's 24-hour guideline of 15 micrograms per cubic meter​.

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