India’s death and disease burden due to air pollution, an “under-appreciated contributor” to ill health, is disproportionately high, a study has said, underscoring that toxic air prematurely kills 11 percent of people younger than 70 years.

Of the total deaths in India in 2017, 1.24 million deaths, equivalent to 12·5 percent of total mortalities, could be attributed to air pollution, said the paper by the India State Level Disease Burden Initiative, published in The Lancet in December.

This means air pollution is responsible for one out of every eight deaths in India.

These fatalities include 0·67 million deaths due to outdoor particulate matter pollution while 0·48 million human lives are snuffed out due to household air pollution.

Connecting the dots on air pollution, death and disease burden, the study revealed that India comprised 18 percent of the global population in 2017, but had 26 percent of global DALYs (a measure of disease burden) attributable to air pollution.

Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) denotes the sum of years of potential life lost due to premature mortality and the years of productive life lost due to disability.

“Many don’t die but have sickness which impacts their life. The DALY or overall disease burden captures both the burden of mortality and morbidity (non-fatal health problems),” Lalit Dandona, distinguished research professor, Public Health Foundation of India, and Director, India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative, told Mongabay-India…