Children in South Asia hardest hit by air pollution

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Long-term exposure to indoor and outdoor pollution contributed to almost 5 million deaths globally in 2017, with fatalities resulting from stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer and chronic lung disease, the analysis found.

It trumps better-known risk factors like malnutrition, alcohol use, and physical inactivity in terms of the ill-health effects associated with it.

Air pollution is the third highest cause of death among all health risks in India, ranking just above smoking, said the report released by US-based organisation Health Effects Institute (HEI).

The State of Global Air 2018 report estimated that if air pollution levels were brought within the United Nations health body's guidelines, Nepal's average life expectancy would increase by 4.4 years.

Worldwide, air pollution reduced life expectancy by an average 20 months in 2017, a global impact rivaling that of smoking; this means a child born today will die 20 months sooner, on average, than would be expected without air pollution.

The State of Global Air 2019 report looks at how long-term exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution has affected health.

An interactive map shows years of life expectancy lost to air pollution in Canada as 0.2631.

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Over 1.2 million people died in India due to air pollution in 2017, said a global report on air pollution on Wednesday.

Exposure to household air pollution - mostly from people burning coal, wood or charcoal to cook or heat their homes - is most common in South Asia, East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. "They have kept on pursuing this, they have dispatched government officials to these places to enforce, and air pollution has begun to turn a corner in China", he said.

The number of air pollution deaths in China dropped from 2016 to 2017 but the Indian fatalities rose from 1.1 million to 1.2 million as the country's PM2.5 levels continued to rise.

With air pollution making the list for WHO's top health threats in 2019, along with the anti-vaccination movement, the future generation really doesn't stand a chance.

Particulate matter (PM) pollution is believed to be the most harmful form of air pollution. Robert O'Keefe, vice president, Health Effects Institute, Boston, says: "India has initiated major steps to address pollution sources: the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana Household LPG programme, accelerated Bharat Stage VI vehicle standards, and the new National Clean Air Programme". In the developing world, reliance on solid fuels, such as biomass for cooking and heating, is the main source of indoor pollution.

While around 82% of the disease burden attributable to air pollution stems from chronic non-communicable diseases, it also contributes to communicable disease. Could a report titled "State of the Global Air" with 21 mentions of India in the text of a 24-page report turn some heads, draw attention to the alarming health crisis brewing in the country?

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