The 2019 Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) report has ranked India on top of all other countries for witnessing the highest number of pollution-related deaths in 2017, with an estimated number of 2,326,771 premature deaths. China followed second with 1,865,566 deaths during the same year.
Half of all air pollution-related deaths occur in Chinese and Indian cities.
Both the countries have a billion-plus population, which may be behind them leading the list. But even in another analysis on deaths in proportion to their populations, India features on the 10th spot. The report states, “India, the second-most populous nation, appears on both Top Ten lists with not only the highest number of deaths but also the 10th highest death rate.”
AFP quotes Rachael Kupka, acting executive director of GAHP,
Pollution Is the World’s Largest Environmental Threat
In seeking to assess the extent and severity of harm caused by air, water and occupational pollution, the report holds some chilling facts:
- Pollution kills three times as many people a year as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.
- It is responsible for 15 times the number of deaths caused by war and other forms of violence each year.
- Approximately one in seven deaths in the world is pollution-related.
- Pollution has been severely neglected and has not received adequate attention at private or government levels, even when it can be controlled with solutions that already exist..
The findings and conclusions of the report are more significant today than ever before, with India’s national capital witnessing its worst-ever air quality.
On Friday, 6 December, environment minister Prakash Javadekar said that no Indian study has shown any correlation between pollution and the shortening of lifespan. In response, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director Dr Maria Neira responded,
With the country registering the highest number of deaths due to pollution, it is pertinent to acknowledge, engage and come up with strategic plans for actively managing and bettering the quality of air.
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