Air pollution alone won’t kill you: Harsh Vardhan

Air pollution could be one of the triggering factors for respiratory ailments and associated diseases, said union minister Dr Harsh Vardhan

GN Bureau | December 22, 2017


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“There are no conclusive data available in the country to establish direct correlation of death/disease exclusively due to air pollution,” union minister Dr Harsh Vardhan informed parliament.

The minister added that air pollution could be one of the triggering factors for respiratory ailments and associated diseases. 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.

Read |  India’s air pollution one of the worst in the world: Study

Dr Harsh Vardhan said that 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. The article also states that though the levels of exposure in India is among the highest in the world, the DALY due to air pollution decreased by 23•6% in India from 1990 to 2016.

He said that the government has formulated National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) as a long term time bound national level strategy to tackle increasing air pollution across the country in comprehensive manner. 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 added.

The government has further taken several steps to address air pollution which include notification of Graded Response Action Plan for different levels of air pollution in NCR; notification of National Ambient Air Quality Standards; setting up of monitoring network for assessment of ambient air quality; introduction of cleaner / alternate fuels like gaseous fuel (CNG, LPG etc.), ethanol blending, launching of National Air Quality index; universalization of BS-IV by 2017; leapfrogging from BS-IV to BS-VI fuel standards by 1st April, 2020; notification of Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules; banning of burning of biomass; promotion of public transport network and streamlining the issuance of Pollution Under Control Certificate.

Also read |  Air pollution can damage children’s brains: Unicef report

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