About 14 Indian cities have alarmingly high air pollution levels, including Delhi

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Social Health Community Comments Off

Every individual must support governmental efforts to reduce pollution through action at an individual level

New Delhi, 3rd May 2018: Nine out of ten people around the world breathe air containing high pollutant levels, the WHO has recently revealed. Air pollution levels remain dangerously high in many parts of the world. In addition to this, ambient and household air pollution is responsible for about seven million deaths every year. The need of the hour is urgent action on this issue to achieve the target of sustainable development.

Air pollution has become a much-discussed topic today.

It has been recognized as a critical risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in adults, accounting for 24% of all deaths due to heart disease, 25% from stroke, 43% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 29% because of lung cancer.

PM 10 is linked to lungs and PM 2.5 to heart disease. PM 10 is linked to dust and PM 2.5 to vehicular pollution.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India, said, “Air pollution is mainly man made and because it harms human health it is of immediate concern to all. Improving the air quality is a collective responsibility. Each one of us can do something every day to prevent or at least help control the air pollution levels and keep the environment healthy. Air pollution represents the biggest environmental risk to health. Yet solutions exist, and the data shows some countries have made substantial progress. This is definitely encouraging. However, what is also true is that efforts at the individual level remain absent. What is important here is to understand that the government does not alone bear the responsibility to prevent and control pollution. We all have a responsibility to protect our environment. Much of existing pollution is man-made, so we also must contribute and actively participate in the efforts to control pollution.”

A major concern is that 14 cities in India, along with the national capital Delhi, are among the 20 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM2.5 levels in 2016. For PM10 levels also, 13 Indian cities are included among the 20 most-polluted cities of the world in 2016.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “Mahatma Gandhi said You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Be a strong advocate for measures to control emission of air pollutants. Be an active participant in activities to fight air pollution such as odd even vehicle rule. Follow all rules and laws as enforced by the state.”

Some other tips from HCFI

Walk or cycle for short distance commutes or to the neighborhood market. Plan and combine all your errands in one area or close by areas for one trip. Limit driving and make use of carpool.
Use public transport as much as possible for longer distances. If you have to use your vehicle keep it well maintained for efficient functioning with regular servicing to reduce harmful exhaust emissions and get pollution check done as required. Follow speed limits. Avoid buying diesel vehicle.
Avoid burning candles dhoop or incense sticks at home or workplace. Quit smoking.
Plant more trees. Limit the areas of bare soil by growing grass to reduce the amount of dust. Sprinkle water on exposed soil or construction sites regularly to reduce generation of dust. Wet mop the floors at home or workplace.
Choose a place with least pollution levels when there is a choice

Controlling air pollution is an urgent global concern

Health Care Comments Off

Air pollution has become a much-discussed topic these days. Lot is being written about and spoken about the rising pollution levels in the country and its impact on health. Air pollution has been recognized as a critical risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in adults, accounting for 24% of all deaths due to heart disease, 25% from stroke, 43% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 29% because of lung cancer.

New data from WHO has shown that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants reiterating the need for urgent action to check the dangerously high levels of pollution.

What should be of great concern to us all is that 14 cities in India, along with our national capital Delhi, are among the 20 most polluted cities in the world with regard to PM2.5 levels in 2016. For PM10 levels also, 13 Indian cities are included among the 20 most-polluted cities of the world in 2016.

The other major findings include:

Globally, around 7 million deaths occur annually due to exposure to ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution. South-East Asia Region accounts for 2.4 million of these 7 million premature deaths
As per WHO data, more than 40% of people globally still lack access to clean cooking fuels and technologies in their homes, the main source of household air pollution.
About 4.2 million deaths occurred due to ambient air pollution alone in 2016. About 1.3 million of these deaths were reported from SEAR.
Household air pollution from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies resulted in around 3.8 million deaths in 2016. Of these, 1.5 million deaths occurred in SEAR.
More than 90% of air pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, mainly in Asia and Africa, followed by low- and middle-income countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region, Europe and the Americas.
The highest ambient air pollution levels are in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and in South-East Asia, with annual mean levels often exceeding more than 5 times WHO limits, followed by low and middle-income cities in Africa and the Western Pacific.
Africa and some of the Western Pacific region lack air pollution data. Europe has the highest number of places reporting data.
Ambient air pollution levels are lowest in high-income countries, particularly in Europe, the Americas and the Western Pacific.
“Every cloud has a silver lining”. The report acknowledges the positive progress in the efforts to reduce air pollution from particulate matter. Specifically, the report makes note of India’s Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana Scheme, which has provided some 37 million women living below the poverty line with free LPG connections to support them to switch to clean household energy use in the last two years. The target is to reach 80 million households by 2020.

These findings re-emphasize the need for urgent action to address this public health problem.

What is important here is to understand that the government does not alone bear the responsibility to prevent and control pollution. We all have a responsibility to protect our environment.

Much of existing pollution is man-made, so we also must contribute and actively participate in the efforts to control pollution.

(Source: WHO)

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

Vice President CMAAO

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Immediate Past National President IMA