No conclusive data on direct correlation of death, disease with air pollution: Govt
There were no conclusive data to establish direct correlation of death or disease exclusively due to air pollution, the government said Monday, but asserted it could be one of the “triggering” factors for respiratory ailments and associated diseases.
The government also said it has formulated National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) as a long-term, time-bound and national-level strategy to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner.
Minister of state for environment Mahesh Sharma informed the Rajya Sabha that effects of air pollution on health are synergistic manifestation of factors which include food habits, occupational habits, socio-economic status, among others.
He was replying to a question whether Indians are the worst affected by pollution in the world according to a recent study conducted by Lancet Medical Journal.
Sharma said an article titled ‘Nations within a nation: Variations in epidemiological transition across the states of India, 1990-2016 in the Global Burden of Disease Study’ was published in the Lancet journal in December, 2017.
The article reported that five leading risk factors for Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in 2016 are child and maternal malnutrition, air pollution, dietary risks, high systolic blood pressure and high fasting plasma glucose.
It also states that though the levels of exposure in India are among the highest in the world, the DALY due to air pollution decreased by 23.6% in India from 1990 to 2016, Sharma said.
“There are no conclusive data available in the country to establish direct correlation of death/disease exclusively due to air pollution. However, air pollution could be one of the triggering factors for respiratory ailments and associated diseases,” the minister said.
“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,” he said.
On NCAP, Sharma said, “The overall objective is to augment and evolve effective ambient air quality monitoring network across the country besides ensuring comprehensive management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.”
“The NCAP focuses on collaborative and participatory approach comprising all sources of pollution and coordination between relevant central ministries, state governments, local bodies and other stakeholders,” he said.
The minister informed the house that the government has taken several steps to address air pollution which include notification of National Ambient Air Quality Standards, setting up of monitoring network for assessment of ambient air quality, introduction of cleaner and alternate fuels like gaseous fuel (CNG, LPG) among others.