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Deaths linked to PM2.5 2nd highest in India: Study

Published: 27th Dec, 2021


India recorded 867,000 deaths in 2017 due to exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) — the second-highest in the world, according to a new report.


What is Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5)?

Particulate Matter (PM)

  • Airborne particulate matter (PM) is not a single pollutant, but rather is a mixture of many chemical species.
  • Particles are defined by their diameter for air quality regulatory purposes.
  • Particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), refers to tiny particles or droplets in the air that are two and one half microns or less in width.
  • The widths of the larger particles in the PM2.5 size range would be about thirty times smaller than that of a human hair.
  • The smaller particles are so small that several thousand of them could fit on the period at the end of this sentence.

Key-highlights of the Study

  • China topped the list with 1,387,000 deaths.
  • Indonesia came third, recording 94,000 deaths, followed by Egypt 88,000, Pakistan 86,000, Russian Federation 68,000, Bangladesh 64,000, Nigeria 51,000 and the United States 47,000.
  • In India, the top four of the 200 areas with the highest PM2.5 concentrations — Singrauli, Kanpur, Sitapur and Ahmedabad — all experienced increase in population-weighted mean (PWM) for PM2.5 mass between 1970 and 2017 (the study period).
  • The PWM for these places were 14-16 times the annual average advocated in World Health Organization guidelines.

The Study

  • The study Global Burden of Disease from Major Air Pollution Sources: A Global Approach by Health Effects Institute (HEI), an independent, non-profit research institute was published December 15, 2021.
  • It analysed data on air pollution and mortality from 1970-2017. 

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