Air Pollution And Human Health

Building and strengthening knowledge and awareness on health impacts of air pollution

As per India State Level Disease Burden Initiative, 1.7 million deaths in India were attributable to air pollution in 2019; this was 18% of the total deaths in the country in that year. Household air pollution and ambient particulate matter pollution, both, were major causes of these deaths. Commercial and residential biomass burning, transport emissions, emissions from coal-based power generation, industrial emissions, agricultural stubble burning, waste burning, construction activities etc are some of the sources of ambient particulate matter pollution. Use of solid fuels – biomass, cow dung, charcoal – for cooking are primary sources of household air pollution. Household air pollution is decreasing in India resulting in 64% reduction in the death rate attributable to it from 1990 to 2019, whereas the death rate from outdoor ambient air pollution has increased during this period by 115%.
Besides risking human health, air pollution is also adversely affecting India’s economic productivity. As per India State Level Disease Burden Initiative, economic loss due to lost output from premature deaths and morbidity from air pollution was 1.4% of the country’s GDP in 2019; the economic losses were equivalent to INR 260,000 crores. Unfortunately, the health and economic burden is borne disproportionately by the poor and marginalised communities.

Improving air quality is everyone’s responsibility and necessity; policy reforms and practice changes are urgently required. H.E.L.P and PHFI works to improve knowledge and awareness of doctors, health care professionals, patients, and general masses on health impacts of air pollution.