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Estimated 57,000 Premature Deaths In Delhi Last Year Can Be Attributed To Air Pollution: Greenpeace

WHO updated its air quality guidelines for the first time in 15 years

Estimated 57,000 Premature Deaths In Delhi Last Year Can Be Attributed To Air Pollution: Greenpeace
Highlights
  • India has economically viable tools to solve air pollution crisis: Expert
  • Mumbai's annual PM2.5 trends in 2020 exceeded 8 times more than WHO norm
  • Addressing air pollution is a question of political will: Expert

New Delhi: An estimated 57,000 premature deaths in Delhi during 2020 can be attributed to air pollution, Greenpeace India said Wednesday, revealing the city’s annual average air pollution levels exceeded the WHO’s 2005 air quality guidelines (AQG) by nearly eight times and the new AQGs 17.4 times. Analysing the new AQGs of the World Health Organization, Greenpeace India said at least 79 of the world’s most populous cities breached the 2005 WHO annual mean PM 2.5 guidelines in 2020.

Also Read: Opinion: Learning From The COVID-19 Pandemic About Climate Change

Greenpeace India’s analysis of PM 2.5 data aggregated by IQAir found that at least 79 of the world’s 100 most populous cities breached the outgoing WHO annual mean PM 2.5 guidelines in 2020. In Delhi, city-wide annual average air pollution levels exceeded the 2005 WHO guidelines by nearly eightfold in 2020, the highest margin of all cities in the dataset. Greenpeace researchers estimate that 57,000 premature deaths in Delhi during 2020 can be attributed to air pollution, it said.

Greenpeace said that for eight of the 100 cities, PM 2.5 data for 2020 was unavailable due to a lack of government disclosure or monitoring. The remaining 13 cities met the guidelines on a city-wide scale according to IQAir data, but hotspots within all 100 cities likely exceeded the guidelines locally, for example in locations close to busy roads or industry, it said. The WHO Wednesday updated its air quality guidelines for the first time in 15 years.

The new guidelines are derived from strong scientific evidence of the damage air pollution inflicts on human health and hence, recommends new air quality levels based on reducing concentrations of key air pollutants, Greenpeace India said. According to the new guidelines, the annual PM2.5 mean now has been updated to 5g/m3 compared to 10 g/m3 in 2005. Similarly, annual mean for PM10 is updated to 20g/m3 to 15g/m 3 and NO2 to 10g/m3 from 40g/m3.

Commenting on the announcement of new guidelines, Greenpeace India’s senior climate campaigner Avinash Chanchal said, India has economically viable tools to solve the air pollution crisis. In most parts of the world, it is more cost-effective to develop renewable energy sources than to keep burning coal, oil or gas, even before taking the economic burden of air pollution into account. At this point, addressing air pollution is a question of political will, not technology, Mr Chanchal said. According to Greenpeace India, among 100 global cities, Mumbai’s annual PM2.5 trends in 2020 exceeded 8 times more than WHO’s revised air quality guidelines of 5 ug/m3, Kolkata 9.4, Chennai 5.4, Hyderabad 7-fold and Ahmedabad exceeded 9.8-fold.

Also Read: Opinion: Healing The Ecosystem With Sustainability

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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