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Countries including India are among those with the highest risk of harm to citizens from air pollution

Countries including India are among those with the highest risk of harm to citizens from air pollution

Household air pollution and ambient particular matter-a component of outdoor pollution-were listed individually among the top ten risk factors, and were tied to a combined 6.7 million deaths in 2016, the a year ago studied.

"Air pollution takes a huge personal toll worldwide, making it hard to breathe for those with respiratory disease, sending the young and old to hospital, missing school and work, and contributing to early death", Bob O'Keefe, vice president of HEI, said in a statement.

Seven billion people, over 95 percent of the world's population, are breathing air that contains unhealthy levels of pollution, while 60 percent of the world is living in areas that don't even meet the most basic standards of air quality.

Cities are home to an increasing majority of the world's people, exposing billions to unsafe air, particularly in developing countries, but in rural areas the risk of indoor air pollution is often caused by burning solid fuels.

The report says exposure to air pollution led to strokes, heart attacks, lung cancer and chronic lung disease, causing many of those premature deaths. This exposure has made air pollution the fourth highest cause of death globally, after high blood pressure, diet and smoking, and the greatest environmental health risk.

The report also said about the burning of solid fuels in the homes for cooking or heating objective which result in indoor air pollution. While hundreds of different chemical compounds can be measured in air, governments typically measure only a small subset of gases and particles as indicators of the different types of air pollution and the different types of major sources contributing to the pollution.

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It also found that India now rivals China for early deaths from outdoor air pollution with 1.1 million being recorded in 2016.

Looking at pollutants including fine particles (PM2.5) and Ozone, the report suggests that countries including Egypt, Cameroon, Niger and Saudi Arabia in Africa, and Bangladesh and India in South East Asia had some of the populations at the most risk. Charlotte was ranked the 41st most polluted city in the country for ozone, which can increase the risk of lung disease and asthma.

The report by the Health Effects Institute used new findings such as satellite data and better monitoring to estimate the numbers of people exposed to air polluted above the levels deemed safe by the World Health Organisation.

Specific to India, the report pointed out residential biomass burning was the largest individual contributor to disease burden.

A new report suggests that China had made some progress to control the air pollution but countries like India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan can not control the air pollution. These two countries alone were responsible for over half of the total global pollution-related deaths.

Health Effects Institute. 2018.

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