In 2015, out of the 10.3 million deaths in India due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), 2.5 million were linked to pollution, according to a global study.
Pollution caused nine million deaths, or 16 percent of global mortality — three times more deaths than from Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), tuberculosis, and malaria combined — in 2015, the study, titled 'Commission on Pollution and Health', published in Lancet, found.
Rising air pollution in a metropolitan city like Delhi and smaller cities such as Ranchi are leading to rising incidences of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, diabetes and other pollution-related ailments, the study found.
Pollution was in focus when a cricket Test match between India and Sri Lanka in Delhi had to be halted several times, as Sri Lankan players complained of breathing difficulties while some also vomited on the ground due to "poor air quality".
Increasing link between pollution and NCDs
As many as 27 percent of deaths in India were caused due to pollution, making it the country with the highest number of pollution-related deaths, followed by China, according to the Lancet study.
Low and middle-income groups are worst affected by pollution; 92 percent of pollution-related deaths occurred in that income group, IndiaSpend had reported on 14 November, 2017.
In 1990, NCDs accounted for 30.5 percent of the disease burden, which has risen to 55.4 percent in 2016, according to a report by the Indian Council of Medical Research, titled 'India: Health of Nation's States'.
Diabetes and heart diseases are the leading causes for India's increasing disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) — a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death — with diabetes registering an 80 percent increase and a 34 percent increase in heart diseases since 1990.