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Over 99% Of India’s Population Breathes Air That Exceeds WHO’s PM2.5 Guidelines: Report

The Greenpeace India report states the greatest proportion of people living in India are exposed to PM2.5 concentrations more than five times the WHO’s annual average guideline

Over 99% Of India's Population Breathes Air That Exceeds WHO's PM2.5 Guidelines: Report
Greenpeace India report states that 62 per cent of pregnant women live in the most polluted areas, compared to 56 per cent people in the whole population
Highlights
  • Greenpeace India named Delhi-NCR region with highest pollution levels
  • Adults, infants and pregnant women are most vulnerable: Report
  • The report advised government to issue 'red alerts' for bad-air days

New Delhi: Over 99 per cent of India’s population is breathing air that exceeds the World Health Organisation’s health-based guidelines with respect to PM2.5, a report by Greenpeace India said. According to the key findings in the report titled “Different Air Under One Sky”, the greatest proportion of people living in India are exposed to PM2.5 concentrations more than five times the WHO annual average guideline.

It further said 62 per cent of pregnant women in the country live in the most polluted areas, compared to 56 per cent people in the whole population.

As per the report’s annual average PM2.5 exposure analysis, the region with the highest exposure to pollution in the country is Delhi-NCR.

It listed older adults, infants and pregnant women as the most vulnerable groups who are “exposed to worse air”.

Also Read: World Air Quality Report Highlights: India’s Air Quality Improved In 2020, But 22 of 30 World’s Most Polluted Cities Are In India

PM2.5 refers to fine particles which penetrate deep into the body and fuel inflammation in the lungs and respiratory tract, leading to the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory problems, including a weak immune system. The report said the government “must introduce a robust air quality monitoring system” across the country and “make the data publicly available in real time”. The report issues on Friday said,

A health advisory and ‘red alerts’ for bad-air days should also be issued so that the public are able to take necessary steps to protect their health, and polluters would be required to reduce emissions to protect the environment

Also Read: Air Pollution Killed 1.67 Million People In India, Leading to Losses Equivalent To INR 260,000 Crores: Lancet Report

It said the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) is “insufficient” and “needs immediate revision.”

The Central Pollution Control Board must set a process of revision of NAAQS based on scientific evidence. The government must ensure the implementation of all the planned activities under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)

It further stressed that there is an “urgent need” to make NCAP more “transparent, comprehensive and stronger”. The report added,

The people are already paying a huge price for the air pollution crisis and it is taking a massive toll on healthcare systems. People are being forced to breathe in polluted air and are faced with a terrible health crisis. They can’t afford any delays to act on this crisis

Also Read: Six Of The Country’s Most Polluted Cities Are In Uttar Pradesh While Top Two In Jharkhand, Reveals Greenpeace Study

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that 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 the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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