About half of a million premature mortalities occur in India every year due to air pollution. Exposure to fine particulate matter reduces life expectancy by about 3.4 years.
Delhi tops the list in the number of life years lost as many as 6.3 years and exposure to particulate matter by 2.5 years.
‘Uttar Pradesh topped the list of states in the number of deaths from pollution-related causes.’
Dr Sachin Ghude, IITM scientist and co-author of the study, Premature Mortality in India due to PM 2.5 and Ozone Exposure, said such deaths were double that of 300,000 deaths globally caused by human impact of global warming and climate change.
The study published in Geophysical Research Letters was done by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA and Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Laboratory.
"Exposure to fine particulate matter in India reduces life expectancy by about 3.4 years, with Delhiites losing 6.3 years. Air pollution is cutting the lives of those living in polluted states of West Bengal and Bihar by 6.1 years and 5.7 years," said the scientist.
The results are in line with other global estimates 'Global Burden of Disease (GBD) and the World Health Organization (WHO). But there is no way to tell how many deaths can be attributed to air pollution, said Ghude.
"The methods used in this study rely on statistical algorithms to construct estimates about a population's response to pollution exposure using previous concrete observations on pollution and public health," he added.
The study calculated the mortalities due to exposure to harmful ozone (O3) pollution. Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 18% of total deaths, Bihar (11%), West Bengal (9.5%) and Maharashtra (7%).
"We found the cost of the estimated premature moralities came to about $640 billion in 2011 — about 10 times the country's total expenditure on health in 2011," said Ghude.