Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: A new study has warned that in another 10 years, the national capital of Delhi will record the highest number of premature deaths among all mega cities in the world due to air pollution.
According to a team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, by 2025, nearly 32,000 people in Delhi will die as a result of air pollution.
However, it said that another Indian city – Kolkata - will record the highest number of such deaths by 2050.
It is reported that the number of deaths will spike between 2025 and 2050 in Kolkata, with about 55,000 due to air pollution - some 3,000 more than Delhi - which will see 52,000 deaths and during the same year. Mumbai will also record 33,100 deaths due to inhaling of polluted air during the period.
The study claims that all these three Indian cities will top the list due to toxic chemicals and harmful particles like PM2.5 and 03 in the air.
Globally, 3.3 million people die prematurely every year from the effects of air pollution, but the could double to 6.6 million by 2050 if emissions aren't halted, the study noted.
With nearly 1.4 million deaths a year, China has the most air pollution fatalities, followed by India with 645,000 and Pakistan with 110,000.
As per a Times of India report, Pakistan recorded the third highest number of deaths due to air pollution in 2010 - 1.10 lakh followed by Bangladesh (91923), Nigeria (89022) and Russia (67152).
“Our study indicates that residential energy use is the leading source category, practiced by many people both in the urban and rural environment in India. It is an inefficient form of biofuel combustion that causes a lot of smoke and is the foremost source of premature mortality by both indoor and outdoor air pollution in Asia”, Johannes Lelieveld, director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry was quoted as saying to TOI.
Emphasising the need to look at better alternatives for fuel, the study notes that biofuel use for cooking and heating will become the main killer in India.