In 2020, over 3,30,000 people died in India due to exposure to particulate matter from fossil fuel combustion: Lancet

Report adds that from 2000-04 to 2017-21, heat-related deaths increased by 55% in India

Published - October 26, 2022 04:15 am IST - NEW DELHI

Image for representational purposes only.

Image for representational purposes only. | Photo Credit: Reuters

An estimated over 3,30,000 people died in India due to exposure to particulate matter from fossil fuel combustion in 2020, says the 2022 report of The Lancet countdown on health and climate change: health at the mercy of fossil fuels, released on Tuesday, adding that from 2000-2004 to 2017-2021, heat-related deaths increased by 55% in India.

The new findings presented in the seventh annual global report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change also pointed to the fact that governments and companies continue to follow strategies that increasingly threaten the health and survival of all people alive today, and of future generations.

In India, 45% of urban centres are classified as moderately green or above. Urban redesign that puts health first can provide increased green space that reduces urban heat, improves air quality, and benefits physical and mental health, states the report.

Giving an indication of the economic loss, the report states that in 2021, Indians lost 16,720 crore potential labour hours due to heat exposure with income losses equivalent to about 5.4% of national GDP.

For India, the report adds that from 1951-1960 to 2012-2021, the number of months suitable for dengue transmission by Aedes Aegypti rose by 1.69%, reaching 5.6 months each year.

Stating that climate change is amplifying the health impacts of multiple crises, the report further found that from 2012-2021, infants under one year old experienced a higher number of heatwave days.

Additionally it added that the duration of the growth season for maize has decreased by 2%, compared to a 1981-2010 baseline, while rice and winter wheat have each decreased by 1%.

Warning that governments aren’t focusing on the issue as much as required, it said that in 2019, India had a net negative carbon price, indicating that the government was effectively subsidising fossil fuels. “India allocated a net 34 billion USD [around ₹2,80,000 crore] to this in 2019 alone, equivalent to 37.5% of the country’s national health spending that year. Biomass accounted for 61% of household energy in 2019, while fossil fuels accounted for another 20%. With this high reliance on these fuels, average household concentrations of particulate matter exceeded the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation by 27-fold nationally and 35-fold in rural homes,’’ said the report.

The report recommends that improvement in air quality will help to prevent deaths resulting from exposure to fossil fuel-derived particulate matter.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.