There is no credible study to quantify the number of deaths directly as a result of air pollution, the government today said.
Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave in a written reply in Rajya Sabha said that a WHO report had claimed that 92 per cent of the world’s population lives in places where air pollution level exceeds WHO limits.
He said that burning of agriculture waste in open fields may lead to increased level of air pollution in the local and adjoining areas particularly during adverse meteorological conditions like low temperature, poor wind speed and low mixing height.
A report by IIT Kanpur suggests that crop residue burning and other biomass may be transported to Delhi from the sources upwind of Delhi, he said.
“Lung and allied diseases are affected by a number of factors such as smoking, hereditary factors, lifestyle, occupation, socio-economic status, immunity levels, medical history etc. besides air pollution.
“No credible study to quantify number of people who have developed lung and allied diseases or number of deaths directly as a result of air pollution is available,” he said.
He said that the air pollution in some cities in North India has been reported high with respect to Particulate Matter (PM10& PM2.5) especially after Deepawali.
“The increase in level of air pollution occurs due to adverse meteorological conditions like low temperature, poor wind speed and low mixing height….
“In addition to the major contributing factors like road dust, vehicular emissions, construction and demolition activities, gensets, industrial emissions, garbage burning, stubble burning, hot mix plants, brick kilns, firecrackers etc,” he said.
Noting that implementation of pollution control measures is an on-going process, he said that a review mechanism at the appropriate levels in the central government and chief secretaries at the state level has been put in place to ensure implementation of sustainable measures to control pollution.
“Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board also reviews the implementation of measures to mitigate pollution. The review process brings about necessary improvements in respect of required measures,” he said.
He added that the Agriculture Ministry has finalised a national policy for management of crop residues 2014 which envisages adoption of technical measures including diversified crop residue, capacity building and training and extending central financial assistance for various interventions proposed by states under ongoing schemes.