Representational picture
Representational picture

BHOPAL: There is much hue and cry over the Covid-19 death toll, which is a total of 3,500 deaths in 2020, while air pollution claimed 1.12 lakh in 2019 in Madhya Pradesh. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has released its Death Burden Report, 2019.

Long-term exposure to outdoor and household air pollution contributed to annual deaths from stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer, chronic lung diseases and neonatal diseases.

Ambient particulate pollution

In addition to air pollution, 53,201 deaths were due to ambient particulate pollution and 54,101 deaths were due to household air pollution. Eleven deaths were due to ambient ozone pollution in Madhya Pradesh. Long-term exposure to particulate matter (PM) 2.5 is a major risk factor leading to deaths.

Fight against pollution

Pollution has emerged as one of the biggest slow-and-silent killers of our time. Efforts to ensure safe air must be undertaken on a war footing. The report underscores the urgency to prioritise this need. There is also a need to recognise that there is no magic bullet here that can solve the problem. Instead, it will need a range of steps to deal with different sources of pollution.

Chullahs, cars and buses

Deaths from indoor air pollution are caused mainly by poorly ventilated home cooking chullahs. In the same time period, the death rate due to ambient (outdoor) particulate matter pollution increased and that due to ambient ozone pollution increased. These increases in deaths from ambient air pollution reflect increasing emissions from cars, trucks and buses, as well as the widespread use of coal to generate electricity. State-by-state analyses showed a more-than-three-fold variation in air pollution death rates across the states of the country.

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