Air pollution could have killed at least 600,000 Indians in 2012, a study conducted by the World Health Organisation and made public on Monday said.
That is about a fifth of the 3 million who died worldwide because they were exposed to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that may have aggravated or been directly responsible for cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer.
India comes just behind China — which witnessed an estimated 800,000 deaths — says the study, which relied on mathematical modelling to arrive at its figures.
It is second among all countries in the absolute number of deaths caused due to exposure to air pollution.
About 2,49,388 Indians died of Ischemic heart disease;1,95,001 of stroke; 1,10,500 of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and 26,334 of lung cancer, the study relying on publicly available national data on pollutant levels showed.
The actual impact of air pollution, says the report, is a “conservative figure,” as it does not include the separate impacts on health from other air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) or ozone (O3), and excludes health impacts where evidence is still limited (such as pre-term birth or low-birth weight), the authors note.
Industries, households, cars and trucks emit complex air pollutants, including invisible PM2.5 particulates.