The Lancet: air pollution caused 1.67 million deaths in India in 2019
New Delhi, Dec 22 (efe-epa).- Around 1.67 million people in India died in 2019 due to complications related to air pollution, which also contributed to losses of 36.8 billion dollars — 1.36 percent of the country’s GDP — according to a report published by The Lancet medical journal on Tuesday.
The death toll represents 17.8 percent of the total number of fatalities in 2019 in India, where cities tend to occupy the highest positions on lists of the most polluted in the world.
The number of deaths last year is significantly higher than the 1.24 million deaths related to air pollution in India registered in 2017.
The deteriorating levels of air pollution could also adversely affect the economic aspirations of the Asian giant, which is home to some 1.35 billion people.
“The high burden of death and disease due to air pollution and its associated substantial adverse economic impact from loss of output could impede India’s aspiration to be a $5 trillion economy by 2024,” the study warns.
New Delhi, which often holds the title of the world’s most polluted capital, also had the highest economic loss per capita in the country due to air pollution in 2019, followed by the neighboring state of Haryana.
The environmental crisis that New Delhi experiences is usually aggravated every year with the arrival of the coldest months between October and February, when the air starts to become more toxic.
A variety of factors contribute to this, such as industrial activity and pollution caused by cars, or the burning of stubble by farmers in northern India.
On Tuesday, the average air quality index (AQI) in New Delhi was 418, placing it in the category of “severe”, the most dangerous, according to the government’s Central Pollution Control Bureau (CPCB).
On the AQI scale, values above 100 are considered dangerous for children, the elderly and people with respiratory or heart problems, while above 300, the situation is considered dangerous for the general population.