The publication 'Body Burden 2015: State of India's Health' released today also said that climate change is leading to greater frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
The publication, which comprehensively examines the linkage between environment and health, said that a number of public health catastrophes arising out of environmental reasons are staring people of India in the face.
"The report has gone into areas such as vehicular pollution, industrial pollution, polluting cook stoves that cause indoor pollution, and related issues. The report states that death toll due to uncontrolled air pollution-related illnesses alone has increased worldwide by a whopping 300 per cent in the last decade...
"...from 800,000 in year 2000 to 3.2 million in 2012. In Delhi, which was named as the most polluted city of the world by WHO in 2014, air pollution is responsible for 10,000 to 30,000 annual deaths," it said.
CSE said that air pollution is one of the top 10 killers in the world and is the fifth leading cause of death in India.
"It results in about 6,20,000 premature deaths which are caused by stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ischemic heart disease, lower respiratory infections and trachea, bronchus and lung cancer, among others," the statement said, adding that the report highlights the heightened vulnerability of the poor and calls for stringent actions.
"The way forward would be to reduce the source of air pollution mainly revamping our transportation systems and forcing the industry to come up with cleaner technologies. But people are not aware of these linkages and continue to junk public transport," CSE DG Sunita Narain.
The report said that climate change is leading to greater frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and simultaneously, India has seen an increase in vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria.
The report states that the potential period of spread of malaria has increased to 10-12 months (almost the whole year) which is up from 4 to 6 months.
In Kolkata, dengue transmission takes place for 44 weeks in a year. With a 2.4 degree Celsius rise in temperature, transmission may continue for 53 weeks, increasing the risk of more people getting affected, it said.
The report also said that about 600 people died due to heat waves in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha in 2015. Noting that local solutions can help, the report also referred to one such example in Ahmedabad where shifting of a maternity ward from the top to the ground floor helped in reduction of heat- related problems in new-born babies.
"The report shows us that we must focus on prevention and not treatment. We need to improve the environment, reduce the disease burden and save money in private or public healthcare.
The report informs of the impact of climate change on agriculture and the crop loss suffered by farmers in recent years.
"We are seeing an increased severity and frequency of extreme weather events. Farmers in India are facing the double blow of agrarian distress and extreme weather events as a result of climate change," she said.
The report was released by Soumya Swaminathan, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Updated Date: Dec 16, 2015 09:09:02 IST