Indoor pollution killed over 1.24 lakh across India in 2015, says Lancet report | environment | Hindustan Times
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Indoor pollution killed over 1.24 lakh across India in 2015, says Lancet report

Medical Journal Lancet released a report highlighting the impact of climate change on people. The report focuses on the need for climate policies that also curb air pollution.

environment Updated: Oct 31, 2017 09:10 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
Thick smog near India Gate after Diwali celebrations in New Delhi.
Thick smog near India Gate after Diwali celebrations in New Delhi.(Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

Indoor air pollution was linked to over 1.24 lakh deaths across India in 2015, a report published in Lancet – a noted medical journal – has stated. This count was higher than deaths caused by pollution emanating from coal power plants (accounting for 80,368 fatalities) and other industries (95,800 fatalities).

Fine pollutants measuring 2.5 microns or less are emitted in all the three cases.

As the world gears up for the next round of climate negotiations at Bonn in Germany, starting November 6, Lancet on Tuesday released a report highlighting the impact of climate change on people. The factors under discussion ranged from temperature-related illnesses and worsening air quality to frequent climactic disasters and changes in disease patterns.

The report focuses on the need for climate policies that also curb air pollution, considering that many sources of greenhouse gas emissions – such as thermal power plants – also affect air quality.

“Increased access to clean fuels and clean energy technologies will have the dual benefit of reducing indoor air pollution exposure and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions through the displacement of fossil fuels,” the report said.

Indoor air pollution causes 4.3 million preventable deaths linked to pneumonia, stroke, lung cancer, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease every year. Household pollution in India (especially rural areas) is caused by the use of polluting fuel sources such as wood, charcoal and animal dung.

Consequently, nearly 800 million people – mostly women – are exposed to disproportionately high levels of pollutants created through domestic practices.

“By working to deliver universal access to cleaner cooking fuels, India is taking a significant step towards addressing air quality issues and improving health, while continuing to serve as an example... that cooking no longer kills,” said Radha Muthiah, CEO of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, at a recent conference.

The World Meteorological Organisation’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin has stated that carbon dioxide – the primary greenhouse gas – reached its highest-ever levels in 8,000 centuries last year.