Respiratory infections in India up by 7.5 million between 2013 and 2016

Air pollution killed an estimated 1.81 million people in India in 2015, according to the scientific journal, The Lancet.

health Updated: Dec 15, 2017 19:59 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
Malavika Vyawahare
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Respiratory infections,Breathing problem,Acute respiratory infections
A man cycles wearing face protection amid heavy smog in New Delhi.(AFP)

Acute respiratory infections (ARI) in India have increased from 32.76 mn in 2013 to 40.3 mn in 2016, rising consistently over the past four years, environment minister Harsh Vardhan informed Lok Sabha on Friday in a written statement.

Air pollution killed an estimated 1.81 million people in India in 2015, according to the scientific journal, The Lancet.

The overall deaths recorded have been rising over the years. In Delhi, ARI cases fell in the past four years, but deaths increased from 175 to 207.

In Maharashtra, ARI cases more than doubled during the same period, from 896,949 to 1,959,700 while deaths increased from 1 to 20, Vardhan said, quoting data from the National Health Profile and provisional data for 2016.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rapped the environment ministry for focusing only on Delhi NCR and asked it to formulate air-pollution plan for the whole country and notify it within two weeks from December 13.

For almost two-thirds of the cities and towns where air quality is monitored, PM10 (particulate matter that is 10 microns or less in size) levels were above permissible limits in 2016. Nitrogen dioxide crossed the limits in 21 places and 31 places did not meet the PM 2.5 standards.

The Graded Action Plan to tackle air pollution came into force in Delhi NCR this year, but it only lays down emergency measures to be taken when air quality falls below certain limits.

First Published: Dec 15, 2017 16:31 IST