India Had Highest Air Pollution Exposure Globally In 2019, Says Report

New Delhi: People in Inda are exposed to the highest PM 2.5 concentrations globally. India recorded the highest annual average PM 2.5 concentration exposure in the world last year, according to the State of Global Air 2020 (SOGA 2020) report released on Wednesday.

Nepal, Niger, Qatar and Nigeria follow closely behind, reported Hindustan Times (HT).

Other health risk factors globally

The team assessed a total of 87 health risk factors based on the total number of deaths caused in 2019. Air pollution has the fourth-highest risk globally preceded by high systolic blood pressure, tobacco and dietary risks.

However, in India, air pollution is the highest risk factor because of the huge burden of premature deaths it contributes to.

Ozone (O3) Exposure

India is also among the top ten countries with the highest ozone (O3) exposure in 2019, Qatar being the highest. India is at number two with Nepal. However, among the 20 most populous countries, India recorded the highest increase (17%) in O3 concentrations in the past ten years, the report said.

What experts say

“Given the high exposure and staggering health burden of air pollution, India must show urgency and recognise air pollution as a regional-scale problem. The National Clean Air Program should be expanded beyond the urban centres with an air-shed approach prioritising the local and regional mitigation measures to achieve clean air goals for India,” Sagnik Dey, associate professor, IIT Delhi was quoted as saying by HT.

Minister speak

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar claims that Delhi’s air has improved significantly since 2016. He told Lok Sabha last year that the government would resolve the toxic air pollution problem in Delhi in less than 15 years, the time Beijing took to curb a similar problem, the report added.

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