Exposure to household burning emissions and coal combustion were the main reasons behind 75 per cent of air pollution-related deaths in India in 2015, especially in rural areas, reveals new report. The report, by experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)- Bombay and the US-based Health Effects Institute, found that residential biomass fuel burning contributed to some 268,000 deaths in 2015 and coal combustion from both thermal electric power plants and industry contributed to 169,000 deaths.
"This systematic analysis of emissions from all sources and their impact on ambient air pollution exposure found significant contributions from regional sources (like residential biomass, agricultural residue burning and industrial coal), underlying that from local sources (like transportation and brick kilns)," said Chandra Venkataraman from IIT-Bombay.
According to the 2015 Global Burden of Disease analysis, these levels contribute to over 10 per cent of all Indian deaths each year.
The premature mortality, attributed to air pollution, contributed to over 29 million healthy years of life lost.
Overall, air pollution contributed to nearly 1.1 million deaths in 2015, with the burden falling disproportionately (75 per cent) on rural areas.
"India has some of the highest levels of outdoor air pollution in the world," the researchers wrote in the "Special Report 21, Burden of Disease Attributable to Major Air Pollution Sources in India".
This new study provides the first comprehensive assessment conducted in India to understand exposures at national and state levels from all major sources of particulate-matter air pollution (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 µm, or PM2.5).
It takes advantage of enhanced satellite data and India's growing network of air pollution monitors, and is the first to estimate the exposure from different air pollution sources state by state throughout India.