More than one million Indians died due to poor air quality in 2015: Report

The Indian flag flies on Red Fort amid heavy dust and smog. (File photo) Photograph:( Getty )

New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 14, 2017, 11.39 AM (IST)

More than one million Indians died in 2015 due to worsening air pollution levels, according to a report published by US-based institutes.

The data lays bare the past Indian government's policies towards improving the air quality. There has been a 50 per cent spike in early deaths related to the deteriorating problem between 1990 and 2015.

Globally, there were 4.2 million premature deaths and a loss of 103 million healthy years of life in 2015, making air pollution the fifth-highest cause of death among all health risks, according to a Health Effects Institute report.

The study found that China and India were responsible for over half of the total global attributable deaths.

The report also stated that only one in 10 people live in places that have clean air.

“We are seeing increasing air pollution problems worldwide, and this new report and website details why that air pollution is a major contributor to early death,” said Dan Greenbaum, President of the Health Effects Institute (HEI1 ), the global research institute that designed and implemented the study.

“The trends we report show that we have seen progress in some parts of the world – but serious challenges remain,” he added.

Although China has been long criticised for its poor air quality, the number of deaths linked to high pollution has stabilised in recent years.

The latest data will be an eye-opener for the Indian government as it has downplayed the significance of poor air quality in the past.

HEI's analysis is the first of a new series of annual reports and accompanying interactive website, designed and implemented by the Health Effects Institute in cooperation with the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington and the University of British Columbia.

A UN report had last year said that Asia and the Middle East, and low-and middle-income countries are the most affected regions.

United Nation's World Health Organization said that the major sources of air pollution were: inefficient modes of transport (polluting fuels and vehicles), inefficient combustion of household fuels for cooking, lighting and heating, coal-fired power plants, agriculture, and waste burning.