The environment ministry has recently told the Supreme Court that the international reports/studies are very misleading as there is no conclusive evidence to establish a direct correlation of deaths exclusively to air Pollution.
Senior advocate and amicus curiae in the air pollution matter, Harish Salve, had on October 11 flagged in the apex court the government’s affidavit in this regard where the ministry requested that international studies not be cited as a reference to highlight the impact of air pollution.
The ministry had submitted the affidavit in response to a comprehensive action plan, prepared by the the Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).
Asked whether such a stand doesn’t contradict several government reports which unequivocally spoke about air pollution-linked health hazards in India, an official said, “We never denied air pollution-linked health hazards, but it’s extremely difficult to link those huge number of deaths with toxic air. Different international studies have come out with different figures, using different data from different sources”.
The official cited the examples of two global studies of 2017 to substantiate his point. He noted how the State of Global Air 2017, released in February, had put the number of premature deaths due to air pollution in India in 2015 at 1.09 million whereas the Lancet study, released on Thursday, had arrived at the figure of 1.81 million deaths in the same year due to air pollution.
“Unless we have our own studies having uniform parameters, we cannot quantify those deaths and link it to specific type of pollution”, he said.
The only available report on the air-pollution linked hazards relates to an epidemiological study on ambient air quality and its impact on children in Delhi. It was brought out by the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata in 2010. It highlighted impact of air pollution on human health, but didn’t speak about specific number of deaths in India linked to it.
The environment ministry generally avoids sharing details of air pollution-linked deaths, but it had in August 2015 made an exception and told Parliament that more than 35,000 people had died due to acute respiratory infections (ARI) across India in the nine years from January, 2006 to mid-2015.
Without directly linking these deaths to air pollution, it had said air pollution in general causes respiratory ailments and may affect lung function. It also noted how it acts as an “aggravating” factor for many respiratory ailments and cardiovascular diseases.
Source : timesofindia