464 children died due to bad air in the country, shocking claim in international report

Ananya Shroff
5 Min Read

New DelhiA recent international report is a sample of how dangerous the polluted air is in Indian cities. According to this report, on an average, 464 children under the age of 5 die every day in India due to polluted air. This report has been prepared by an American research institute 'Health Effects Institute' (HEI). The name of this report is 'State of Global Air (SOGA) 2024'. Across India, combining all age groups, about 21 lakh people died due to polluted air in 2021 alone. This report shows that polluted air has now become the second largest cause of death, coming second only to high blood pressure. Polluted air is now proving to be more dangerous than tobacco and diabetes.

Dirty air is the cause of death of 80 million people worldwide

According to a report, 81 million people died worldwide in 2021 due to diseases caused by polluted air. The shocking thing is that every fourth of these deaths occurred in India. This year, 21 million people died in India and 23 million in China due to polluted air. That is, 55% of the deaths due to this poisonous air worldwide occurred in these two countries only. The report also states that this air is a major reason for the increase in non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes, paralysis) in India. According to researcher Pallavi Pant, in 2021, 40% of deaths due to heart disease, 33% of deaths due to lung cancer, 20% of deaths due to type 2 diabetes, 41% of deaths due to paralysis and 70% of deaths due to COPD (lung disease) in India were linked to polluted air.

The most dangerous pollutant is PM2.5, which are very small particles present in the air. PM2.5 is responsible for 6 out of 10 deaths caused by polluted air worldwide. Apart from this, polluted air inside homes and ozone gas also cause deaths, although their percentage is less (38% and 6% respectively).

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danger signs for children

The “State of Global Air (SOGA)” report, prepared for the first time in collaboration with UNICEF, also highlights that millions of people suffer from respiratory diseases due to polluted air. The treatment of these diseases is very expensive, which puts a burden on hospitals, the economy and the entire society. According to the report, 'Children under the age of five are most affected by polluted air. This can lead to premature birth, low weight, asthma and lung diseases.' In the year 2021, more than 7 lakh children under the age of 5 died worldwide due to polluted air. It is worth noting that after malnutrition, polluted air has become the second biggest cause of death of children of this age.

The report said that exposure to polluted air in young children can cause diseases such as pneumonia (lung infection). One in five children worldwide dies from pneumonia. Apart from this, polluted air also causes asthma in older children, which is the most common respiratory disease. However, a government health official said that as per government rules, diseases caused by polluted air are not officially reported.

from bad to very bad

➤ 2019 | Air pollution was the 5th largest risk factor for death worldwide. It caused 5 million deaths worldwide (1 in every 10 deaths).
➤ 2020 | It became the fourth biggest threat of death. 67 lakh people died worldwide, including untimely deaths of 5 lakh children.
2021 | It has become the second biggest threat of death. 81 lakh people died worldwide, including 7 lakh children under the age of 5.

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