Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: India has the second highest number of deaths due to air pollution in 2013, next only to China, says a World Bank released on Thursday.
In 2013, air pollution claimed 1.4 million lives in India, whereas China, which is the world's most populous country, lost 1.6 million lives.
The report also shows that more than five million deaths worldwide were attributed to health conditions caused by air pollution. The estimates are based on exposure to PM2.5 pollutants, which also indicates that the risks are much higher in the developing world.
According to the report, released by the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, premature deaths due to air pollution cost the global economy $5.1 trillion annually, hampering the economic development of the countries, particularly growing economies in Asia.
It found that in 2013 (the latest year for which global data is available) China lost nearly 10% of its GDP, while India over 7%, Sri Lanka and Cambodia roughly 8%.
“The health risk posed by air pollution is the greatest in developing countries,” said the report. “In 2013 about 93% of deaths and non-fatal illnesses attributed to air pollution worldwide occurred in these countries, where 90% of the population was exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution.”
The World Bank report also showed that in 2013, premature deaths alone cost the global economy about $225 billion in lost work days.
Air pollution, which is a major environmental health risk, increases a person's chance of contracting ailments such as stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma.
Air pollution Air pollution is the fourth leading cause of premature deaths worldwide after metabolic risks, dietary risks and tobacco smoke.