NEW DELHI: India could make a major dent in air pollution and save about 270,000 lives a year by curbing emissions from dirty household fuels such as wood, dung, coal and kerosene, according to a study led by researchers from IIT Delhi.
Eliminating these emissions alone — ignoring industrial or vehicle emissions — would bring the average outdoor air pollution levels below the country’s air quality standard of 40 micrograms per cubic meter, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows.
Mitigating the use of household fuels could also reduce air pollution-related deaths in the country by about 13 per cent, which is equivalent to saving about 270,000 lives a year, said.
“Household fuels are the single biggest source of outdoor air pollution in India,” said Kirk R Smith, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the US.
As of early 2016, nearly half of the Indian population was reliant on biomass for household fuel, researchers said. In addition to generating greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, these dirty fuels kick out chemicals and other fine particulate matter that can stick in the lungs and trigger a whole host of diseases. In 2015, India’s average annual air pollution level was 55 microgrammes per cubic metre of fine particulate matter., reserachers said.
(With PTI inputs)