Deaths from India air pollution rivals China: study

February 14, 2017
India's notoriously poor air quality causes nearly 1.1 million premature deaths every year, almost on par with China, concluded a joint report by two US-based health research institutes

India's air now rivals China's as the world's deadliest, according to a new study published Tuesday amid warnings that efforts to curb pollution from coal won't yield results any time soon.

India's notoriously poor causes nearly 1.1 million every year, almost on par with China, concluded a joint report by two US-based health research institutes.

But where deaths linked to in China have steadied in recent years, the rate has soared in India where smog readings in major cities routinely eclipse safe exposure levels.

India has recorded a nearly 50 percent increase in premature deaths linked to PM2.5—fine particles that lodge deep in the lungs—between 1990 and 2015, the report found.

"India now approaches China in the number of deaths attributable to PM2.5," said the report by the Health Effects Institute and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Anti-pollution steps in China—which jostles with India for the unenviable title of world's most polluted country—has seen the number of smog-related deaths largely stabilise since 2005.

In India that number has steadily climbed from an estimated 737,400 deaths a year in 1990 to 1.09 million in 2015.

India and neighbouring Bangladesh have experienced the steepest increases in pollution since 2010 "and now have the highest PM2.5 concentrations" in the world, the report said.

Pollution in New Delhi in November reached crisis levels, with crop burning, car exhaust, dust and coal plants blamed for the record smog.

The government shuttered schools and temporarily closed a coal-fired power plant as a stop gap, but experts say the energy-hungry nation will need to do more if it's to clean the air for India's 1.25 billion people.

"Coal isn't going to go away very fast. Coal-based in the environment will always be very significant in India," Sumant Sinha, the chairman of Indian clean energy firm ReNew Power told AFP.

"Renewables are not going to be expanding fast enough for us to be able to impact that particular problem. Unless all of those (factors) are also brought under control, I don't think it's going to come anywhere close to really solving the problem."

Explore further: Lifting the fog on China's unwieldy air pollution problem

Related Stories

Lifting the fog on China's unwieldy air pollution problem

January 25, 2017

The new year in many northern Chinese cities kicked off with a blanket of thick, choking smog—that's despite the anti-pollution efforts that have started taking effect over the past few years. An article in Chemical & Engineering ...

Poor air quality kills 5.5 million worldwide annually

February 12, 2016

New research shows that more than 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution. More than half of deaths occur in two of the world's fastest growing economies, China and India.

Five things to know about Delhi's toxic smog

November 8, 2016

India's top court Tuesday gave authorities two days to devise a plan to tackle choking levels of smog in Delhi which have prompted warnings of a health "emergency" in the world's most polluted capital.

Recommended for you

Nano-droplets are the key to controlling membrane formation

February 19, 2019

The creation of membranes is of enormous importance in biology, but also in many chemical applications developed by humans. These membranes are shaped spontaneously when soap-like molecules in water join together. Researchers ...

LOFAR radio telescope reveals secrets of solar storms

February 19, 2019

An international team of scientists led by a researcher from Trinity College Dublin and University of Helsinki announced a major discovery on the very nature of solar storms in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Pottery reveals America's first social media networks

February 19, 2019

Long before Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and even MySpace, early Mississippian Mound cultures in America's southern Appalachian Mountains shared artistic trends and technologies across regional networks that functioned in ...

Observation of quantized heating in quantum matter

February 19, 2019

Shaking a physical system typically heats it up, in the sense that the system continuously absorbs energy. When considering a circular shaking pattern, the amount of energy that is absorbed can potentially depend on the orientation ...

Lobster's underbelly is as tough as industrial rubber

February 19, 2019

Flip a lobster on its back, and you'll see that the underside of its tail is split in segments connected by a translucent membrane that appears rather vulnerable when compared with the armor-like carapace that shields the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.