Sunday, August 09, 2015

At Least 11% Delhites Suffer from Asthma

More than 11% of Delhiites are suffering from asthma and rhinits, the government said while acknowledging that air pollution is an "aggravating" factor for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. "As per a survey conducted by Vallabbhai Patel Chest Institute Delhi in 2006, which covered 5,900 adults belonging to urban, rural and slum population in Delhi, 11.69% were found to be suffering from Rhinits and 11.03% from Asthma," Health Minister J P Nadda said in the Lok Sabha on Friday.  Article from Times of India

Though there is no specific data indicating exact number of cases and deaths due to air pollution, epidemiological studies, by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to assess the long term impact of air pollution on human health, showed a link between pollution and various diseases. "The studies indicate several pulmonary and systematic changes, altered immunity and other health impairments associated with cumulative exposure to high level of particulate pollution that increases the risk of various diseases including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases," Nadda said.

From indoor air pollution, China accounted for nearly 1.5 million and India for close to 1.3 million. Between them, the two Asian giants accounted for nearly two-thirds of the global total. As for outdoor pollution, the south-east Asian region, which includes India in the WHO categorisation, accounted for about 9.4 lakh deaths and the category that includes China had 1.7 million. The two regions were home to over two-thirds of global deaths due to this cause. The WHO assessment also highlighted that around 30% of all lung cancer deaths can be attributed to the joint effects of household and ambient air pollution, emphasizing on the link between pollution and increasing disease burden.

Rising air pollution and the increasing disease burden due to it has emerged as a major concern. Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) also highlighted the issue in its 68th World Health Assembly, held in Geneva, where India assumed presidency after a gap of 19 years. As per WHO assessment, deaths due to air pollution have increased fourfold across the globe over the past decade. China and India are by far the worst affected countries. According to WHO, about 8 million deaths globally are attributable to air pollution, which includes about 4.3 million deaths each year associated with exposure to household (indoor) air pollution and further 3.7 million deaths because of ambient (outdoor) air pollution.

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