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Second highest PM2.5 related deaths in India

PM2.5 related deaths in India; Fossil fuel combustion, a major source of air pollution, contributed to more than one million deaths

By groundreportdesk
New Update
PM2.5 related deaths in India

Ground Report | New Delhi: PM2.5 related deaths in India; Fossil fuel combustion, a major source of air pollution, contributed to more than one million deaths globally in 2017, from 27 percent of all deaths from external particulate matter (PM 2.5).

PM2.5 related deaths in India

According to the new study of the Health Effects Institute, India recorded 867,000 deaths due to exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in 2017, the second-highest in the world. China tops the list with 1,387,000 deaths. The report said Indonesia ranks third with 94,000 deaths, followed by Egypt at 88,000, Pakistan at 86,000, the Russian Federation at 68,000, Bangladesh at 64,000, Nigeria at 51,000, and the United States at 47,000.

Among fossil fuels, coal has contributed the most to global deaths associated with particulate matter emissions, according to the study. "In India, coal accounted for 16% of air pollution-related deaths in 2015 and 17.1% in 2017."

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Multiple previous studies employed global chemical transport models as a means to systematically estimate contributions from specific sources in specific countries, such as China and India, as well as on a global scale. Two examples of these studies are previous country-specific GBD MAPS projects.

These studies identified coal as the largest contributor to the weighted annual mass of PM2.5 in China in 2013 and residential emissions as the largest contributor in India in 2015, with an estimated 366,000 and 267,700 attributable deaths, respectively (GBD MAPS Working Group 2016, 2018).

air pollution identified as more harmful

In global analyzes, Weagle and colleagues (2018) reported that residential emissions were the largest globally averaged population-weighted mean mass source of PM2.5 in 2014, while Lelieveld and colleagues (2019) reported simulations for 2016 that attributed 3.61 million deaths to all fossils. Fuel-related sources of ambient air pollution (ozone and PM2.5).

Although these and other studies provide valuable information on the main sources of environmental fine particulate matter, they have been limited to specific countries, used relatively coarse spatial resolution exposure estimates, and restricted to a small number of aggregate emissions sectors at scale. It did not capture recent emissions trends in populated regions such as China and India.

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PM2.5 is particulate matter in the air less than 2.5 µm in diameter. It is generally believed that the black carbon part of PM2.5 (which comes mainly from motor vehicles) was the most damaging. However, the team's analysis of data in 210 cities in 16 countries between 1999 and 2017 found that the risks to human health from air pollution vary according to the proportion of different components in PM2.5.

One of the most dangerous components is ammonium (NH4+), which originates mainly from the use of fertilizers and livestock. The risk of excess mortality from PM2.5 increased from approximately 0.6% to 1% when the proportion of ammonia increased from 1% to 20% in the mixture1.

Cities with a higher concentration of ammonia in the mix, including Japanese cities Aikita, Aomori, Sendai, and Canadian cities London Ontario and Sarnia, were associated with higher health risks. Specific actions aimed at the agricultural and livestock sectors can accelerate the reduction of the negative effects of air pollution on health.

Harmfulness of PM 2.5 particles

The acronym PM (particulate matter or particulate matter) refers to particles of different sizes that are suspended in the atmosphere, in the air we breathe, reducing the quality of said air and causing health problems. 

Within the PM we can find the aforementioned PM 2.5 and PM10. It is important to know this differentiation because it can tend to include both types as if they were the same and, in reality, they present important divergences.

First of all, the size. PM 2.5 have a diameter equal to or less than 2.5 microns while PM10 have a diameter equal to or less than 10 microns. 

Second and perhaps more relevant is the origin and the material from which these particles are composed. PM10 is usually more associated with natural sources and components, while PM 2.5 comes more frequently from sources related to human activity such as the emission of polluting gases from vehicles. 

One of the most serious health problems is the ability of these microparticles to penetrate the lungs and even reach the alveoli, transporting harmful substances to very sensitive areas of the respiratory system with the possibility of aggravating respiratory diseases and, in extreme cases, producing death.  (PM2.5 related deaths in India)

Another key aspect is the tiny size of these particles, which favors their permanence in suspension in the air as well as their entry through the nostrils of people and animals. High exposure to these particles can lead to pathologies and health problems, among which are: 

  • Respiratory diseases. Both aggravation and cause of diseases such as bronchitis, asthma or allergies, irritation of the respiratory tract and lungs and even increased susceptibility to respiratory diseases. 
  • Heart diseases. Various studies show the incidence of PM 2.5 particles in blood and heart pathologies, giving rise to inflammations of the circulatory system, changes in blood viscosity and blood pressure, which can cause arrhythmias, heart attacks, strokes or aggravate other types of diseases. cardiovascular 

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