There is no conclusive data to link deaths exclusively with air pollution, the Centre on Monday said after Greenpeace India’s recent claim that nearly 12 lakh deaths take place every year due to air pollution.
Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave in a written reply in Rajya Sabha said Greenpeace India has published a report titled “Airpocalypse” in January this year based on secondary information on air quality collected through RTI, annual reports of state pollution control boards and literature review in which it claimed that 12 lakh deaths take place due to air pollution.
“There is no conclusive data available in the country to establish direct correlationship of death exclusively with air pollution. Health effects of air pollution are synergistic manifestation of factors which include food habits, occupational habits, socio-economic status, medical history, immunity, heredity etc of the individuals.
“Air pollution could be one of the triggering factors for respiratory associated ailments and diseases,” Dave said.
The Greenpeace India report had said Delhi tops the list of 20 most polluted cities in the country where 12 lakh deaths take place every year due to air pollution.
It also claimed that none of the 168 cities it assessed complies with air quality standards prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to the report, the deaths every year in India due to air pollution are only a “fraction less” than that caused by tobacco usage. Three per cent of the GDP is lost due to air pollution, it added.
Dave said major steps taken by the government to curb air pollution include notification of national ambient air quality standards, formation of environmental regulation, setting up of monitoring network for assessment of ambient air quality, introduction of cleaner alternative fuels like LPG and CNG, leap frogging from BS IV to BS VI fuel by April 1, 2020.