Pollution the Biggest Killer – Again

Alas! Out of 10.3 million deaths worldwide, Pollution is solely responsible for killing 2.5 million people in 2015. The death rate induced by pollution is thrice the number of deaths from AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. It is rightful to say that pollution is now a dreaded enemy to our health. If you are residing in Delhi, Kolkata, Ranchi or other polluted cities, you have a higher chance of dying of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Lung Cancer and other pollution-related diseases.

Now that you have gained a clear picture of the pollution-death relationship. Let us delve further. According to the Lancet study, India ranks first in terms of pollution linked deaths, followed by China, contributing to 27% of fatality rate. You will be shocked to know that adverse effects of pollution are hitting the low and middle-class income groups harder than the high-income group.92% of deaths were reported from the above-mentioned groups.

Pollution causing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) have risen to 55.4% in 2016. Twenty-two Million people lost their lives to COPD and an approximate 35 million were Asthma patients. You may now consider people living in rural areas lucky, but that is not the scenario. The rural community faces COPD more than their urban counterpart.10.76 million of rural men were at a risk of COPD as compared to 3.94 million urban men in 2016.Similarly, 5.54 million rural women and 1.97 million urban women were at a risk of COPD. The reason contributing to the increased risk is the five-fold hike in COPD treatment costs.

The flowchart is simple: Lack of knowledge, awareness, facilities, experts-> delay in disease detection and treatment ->rise in the hospital bill. According to government data, only 44.7% of the rural population reported pollution-induced diseases compared to 58.7% reports.

But for every problem, there is a solution, only if we start off with the solution now! At the individual
level, you can curb the use of private transport and switch to carpools for travelling to the office, school or college, get your vehicle pollution checked regularly, install cost-effective chimneys at the kitchen, use masks while going out, minimize the use of sprays, deodorants containing particulate matter and Chlorofluorocarbons. At the government level, laws to reduce pollution must be diligently enforced.

Among the 2.5 million deceased, we would not want ourselves to be next. So stay aware and beware!

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