Air pollution reduces 8 years of life expectancy in India

December 11, 2021 0 By Gopakumar

India registers 18 percent of deaths annually due to air pollution and related diseases, while nationwide socioeconomic inequalities persist in asthma diagnosis
across India

Air pollution is the most prevalent risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with a prevalence of 76.4 percent in India, and it reduces life expectancy by almost 8 years. A large nationwide survey, conducted by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) in India, pointed out that India registers 18 percent of deaths annually due to air pollution while it caused a total loss of Rs. 2,60,000 crores to the Indian economy in 2019. Every 3 out of 4 individuals are exposed to high air pollution, making the risk of air pollution pervasive and relatively similar across all age groups. It found that the risk of air pollution is marginally higher for the younger population who are either studying or working. According to the report on the rising burden of non-communicable diseases in India, air pollution is the most prevalent risk factor for NCDs. 

The report observes that air pollution is a significant risk factor for respiratory diseases which include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, pneumonia, and lung cancer. Exposure to air pollution on the road increases the chances of developing respiratory diseases by 16 percent. Air particulate matter (PM) pollution, PM2.5, and PM10 particles can penetrate deep into the lungs’ passageways and are most harmful to health, causing excessive premature mortality. Air pollution affects skin diseases the most, increasing the chances by as much as 52%. Air pollutants may lead to skin aging, inflammatory or allergic conditions such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and acne, and skin cancer. Indoor air pollution such as workplace and household air pollution are major risk factors with a prevalence of 20.1% and 28.7% respectively. The report covered 2,33,672 people and 673 public health offices in 21 states to analyse the rising cases of NCDs and the social profile of suffering households.