Death by Air Pollution? India’s Environment Min Doesn’t Believe So

I don’t think we can generalise and say that millions of people are dying only due to pollution: Harsh Vardhan

Published11 Nov 2017, 09:09 AM IST
2 min read

Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, during an interview with NDTV, went on denial mode as he shot down all reports that suggest air pollution leads to millions of death every year. While talking about the toxic smog covering parts of north India, specially Delhi, Harsh Vardhan, who is also a doctor, said that, "To attribute any death to a cause like pollution may be too much".

Statistical reports by WHO (World Health Organisation) says that India sees about 1.2 million deaths annually due to air pollution. Other studies also claim that in 2015, an estimated 81,000 adults died prematurely due to exposure to PM10.

“Ultimately these studies have to be India centric. To attribute any death to a cause like pollution, that may be too much,” Vardhan told the news channel. He added that these studies should be evaluated by Indian standards by Indian scientists.

Also read: The Urgency to Bring Down Pollution Levels in Delhi ‘Air’pocalypse

But throughout the interview Vardhan maintained a firm belief that the current surge in particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) in Delhi’s air could not do much harm to citizens if they “eat right and do good quality exercises”.

Certainly if you have a diseased lungs and if the pollution is continuously damaging your alveoli (air sacks) then one day when you die, you can attribute the cause of death, to some proportion, to maybe pollution. But I don’t think we can generalise and say that millions of people are dying only due to pollution
Harsh Vardhan to NDTV

Soon after the interview was published, a thick haze of memes and jokes engulfed Harsh Vardhan on the social media. Here are few of them:

NDTV’s Nidhi Razdan can’t even...

While AAP’s Ashutosh took his chances.

(Breathe In, Breathe Out: Are you finding it tough to breathe polluted air? Join hands with FIT to find #PollutionKaSolution. Send in your suggestions to or WhatsApp @ +919999008335)

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