As per details of details of State of Global Air (SOGA) report of 2019 that was released this week, air pollution is becoming the fifth biggest killer across the world and is responsible for more deaths than common causes like alcohol, drugs and malnutrition. The report says that air pollution can reduce life expectancy of children by 20 months on an average and infants in South Asian nations like India, and Pakistan followed by Africa are the most vulnerable to this issue This is because these nations have the highest level of particulate material in air which is around 2.5 PM due to use of fossil fuels like coal and charcoal for cooking at home.
These particulate matter are smaller than 2.5 micrometers and can cause many diseases which is why they are considered a big challenge by government and public health officials as they have far reaching implications on national economies. This air pollution is particularly pronounced in Asian nations of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan which in recent years have been perpetually blanketed in dark clouds of toxic air for several days. As per the SOGA report a child born today in South Asia is likely to die 20-30 months earlier than its peer in Western nations that will survive for 20 months of more.
In India the major sources of particulate matter are construction dust, burning of garbage and solid fuels, burning of coal in power plants and industries, production of bricks in open kilns, transportation and diesel powered equipment. African countries under risk of air pollution related deaths are Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria. According to this report these nations should take lessons from China which had a similar issue last year but it has managed to control 2.5 PM due to strict government measures. The report confirmed that India and China accounted for 50 % the annual deaths that occurred due to air pollution on global scale.