Health issues caused by air pollution led to approximately 16 lakh premature deaths in the country, the Lok Sabha was today informed.
"As per Global Burden of Diseases Study in 2010, approximately 1.6 million premature deaths (under 70 years of age) are attributable to household and ambient air pollution in India," Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel said in a written reply.
Diseases that are attributed to air pollution include chronic respiratory diseases and pneumonia in children and asthma, which are treated at various public health facilities in the country, she said.
On steps taken by the government to ensure availability of treatment facilities for air pollution and bring down the mortality rate due to it, Patel said, "A steering committee of experts was constituted in 2014 to assess the extent of the problem and suggest action plan to mitigate adverse health impacts."
The committee had in August 2015 submitted its report which was accepted by the Health Ministry in December 2015.
"The report has been circulated to all concerned ministries for appropriate action. Following the recommendations of the committee, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which is mainly attributed to air pollution, has been included under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS)," Patel said.
NPCDCS focuses on health promotion, prevention and early diagnosis of diseases, strengthening of infrastructure, including human resources, and management and integration with the primary health care system through non-communicable diseases (NCD) cells at different levels.
Recently World Health Organisation (WHO) had come out with a report which ranked several Indian cities, including New Delhi, among top 20 most polluted cities globally.
The WHO report, based on 2012-13 data, was prepared taking into consideration particulate matter PM 10 and PM 2.5 and listed Delhi as the 11th most polluted city in the world.