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Just Deny It: How Our Govt Tackles Effect of Air Pollution on Kids

Choked and breathless. Why isn’t the government studying the link between air pollution and deaths?

Updated
Environment
2 min read


(Photo: Harsh Sahani/<b>The Quint</b>)

Deaths caused by pollution... is that even a thing? Our Environment and Health Ministries don’t seem to care.

In February this year, former Environment Minister, Anil Dave, had said that the Health Ministry was in the process of assessing the “trends and impact of pollution on human health”.

Fast forward to 18 July, and the Health Ministry continues to prove the government’s lack of interest in studying the link between air pollution and deaths.
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Also read: India Spends Just 0.3% of Its Environment Budget on Research: RTI

In a written response to questions pertaining to air pollution and health hazards, the Ministry of Health had said that no study has been conducted in India to assess the impact of air pollution on children below the age of five.

So has there really been no studies in this regard? Reecha Upadhyay, a campaigner with ‘Help Delhi Breathe’, says the government needs to trust civil society voices and studies which establish the link between pollution and health. Living in denial is as good as denying children of their rights to a healthy life, Upadhyay says.

The government needs to work on analysing how pollution impacts health, immunity, and brain development in the current generation of children. If they don’t, there will be a big burden on public health in the coming years. We need a government that is forward thinking and doesn’t deny fact.

Pollution has claimed a number of lives in India over the years, and every year, the evidence only mounts further.

Snapshot

Denial Mode On, Contrary To Evidence

  • A 2016 WHO report says 6.2 lakh people died in India in 2012 because of air pollution.
  • A US-based Health Effects Institute report says that pollution led to 11 lakh premature deaths in India in 2015.
  • A 2016 Greenpeace report says 3,300 Indians died everyday in 2015 due to pollution.

What do we do now, except to wait for our government to stop rubbishing studies and come out with their own? How long must we wait until they wake up and smell the pollution?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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