IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Pollution linked to infant deaths in India: report

23rd October, 2020 Environment

Context: After a decline in pollution due to lockdown, pollution levels are again rising.

  • Outdoor and household particulate matter pollution contributed to the deaths of more than 1, 16,000 Indian infants in their first month of life in 2019, according to State of Global Air 2020 report by the U.S.-based Health Effects Institute.
  • More than half of these deaths were associated with outdoor PM2.5 and others linked to use of solid fuels such as charcoal, wood, and animal dung for cooking.
  • India faced the highest per capita pollution exposure—or 83.2 μg/cubic metre — in the world.
  • Long-term exposure to outdoor and household air pollution contributed to over 1.67 million annual deaths from stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer, chronic lung diseases and neonatal diseases in India in 2019.
  • For the youngest infants, most deaths were related to complications from low birth weight and preterm birth and overall, air pollution was now the largest risk factor for death among all health risks, the report noted.
  • “An infant’s health is critical to the future of every society, and this newest evidence suggests an especially high risk for infants born in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa,”