Household air pollution a major concern in India

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim of distributing more than 8crore free LPG connections to the poor has not been synced by a team of researchers as findings published by the Collaborative Clean Air Policy Centre suggest that household air pollution is the single-biggest cause for deaths due to air pollution in India.

Reports stated that household air pollution is caused by the use of solid fuels- wood, leaves, dung and agricultural waste for cooking purposes. According to the report, 16 crore households in India or 58 crore people roughly half the population of the country still use solid fuels and firewood is the most common solid fuel used in these households.

As per the official data of 2011, there are less than 25 crore households in the country which means despite the great LPG push, solid fuels continue to fuel deaths among poorer Indians. It also said that women are at the greatest risk of death due to household pollution. The pollution which caused by solid fuels is far higher than that caused by transportation or stubble burning, according to the study. These solid fuels give out fine particles (PM2.5), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and a range of other toxic products of incomplete combustion.

On the other hand, researchers from the University of California Berkeley, Cornell University, Max Planck Institute of Germany, Indian Institute of Technology of Delhi and Urban Emissions have prepared the reports of deaths by breaths. The researchers found that 11lakh Indians die prematurely every year due to air pollution and about 8lakh of them or more than 80% of the victims of air pollution are killed by household air pollution. The study also finds that household pollution from outdoor sources kills another 3lakh people prematurely every year. The report also says that the share of household air pollution in the overall air pollution was gauged as high as up to 52 percent.

The study also says that Delhi is one of the most polluted country capitals in the world. Praising Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, the report says that it is an important policy effort but Modi government still has a tough task to make all household free from air pollution. It also says that states for special attention could be those with a low socio-demographic index such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Assam where over 72% households use solid fuels for cooking.

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