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Pollution death in India

Date: 19 May 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous


Air pollution was responsible for 17.8% of all deaths in the country in the year 2019, according to a report on pollution and health published in The Lancet Planetary Health.



This is the largest number of air-pollution-related deaths in any country. The numbers are expected to increase further.



  • The report further says that pollution was responsible for an estimated 90 lakh deaths in 2019, which is equivalent to one in six deaths worldwide.

  • Ambient air pollution caused 45 lakh deaths, and hazardous chemical pollutants 17 lakh, with 9 lakh deaths attributable to lead pollution.


Pollution death in India

  • PM2.5 pollution was responsible for 16.7 lakh air pollution-related deaths in India.  Household air pollution contributed to 6.1 lakh deaths.

  • Deaths attributed to extreme poverty such as indoor air pollution and water pollution has decreased.

  • This has been replaced by deaths caused due to industrial pollution such as ambient air pollution and chemical pollution.


Air pollution in India

  • Indo-Gangetic plain is the hotspot for the most severe pollution in the country. New Delhi and many of the most polluted cities come under this region.

  • Burning of biomass in households was the single largest cause of air pollution deaths in India, followed by coal burning and crop burning.


Major components of air pollution deaths

  • An estimated 9 lakh people die every year due to lead pollution. Major source for lead was petrol.

  • Unscientific recycling of lead-acid batteries and e-waste without pollution controls are major emitters of lead.

  • Other lead pollution sources are spices contaminated with lead, pottery glazed with lead salts and lead in paint and consumer goods.


Measures to tackle air pollution

  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana programme to reduce household air pollution.

  • National Clean Air Programme and Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region have been launched to tackle air pollution levels.

  • Population exposure surveillance through biological and environmental monitoring can help monitor air pollution impact on health.



India does not have a centralized administrative system to undertake its air pollution control efforts and hence the improvements in overall air quality have been limited and uneven.

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