Illnesses due to fine dust include heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, lung cancer among adults, and upper respiratory tract illnesses in children.
Over 15,000 people died prematurely in Delhi in 2016 from illnesses linked to fine particulate matter pollution, Hindustan Times reported, citing a study by researchers from India, Singapore and Thailand.
In the study, which assessed pollution-related deaths in 13 megacities in across South Asia and China, Delhi ranked third after Beijing (18,200) and Shanghai (17,600) in terms of the number deaths related to particulate matter that is 2.5 microns or less in diameter (PM 2.5).
Mumbai reported the fourth highest number of deaths.
Illnesses due to fine dust include heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, lung cancer among adults, and upper respiratory tract illnesses among children.The study revealed that this is the first time the disease burden associated with PM 2.5 has been calculated for Chennai and Bangalore. In both cities, almost 5,000 people died from PM 2.5-linked causes in 2016.
In November, heavy smog choked Delhiites as the city woke up to ‘severe' air quality for days. Pollution levels breached the permissible standards by multiple times. This sparked concern among the National Green Tribunal, Prime Minister's Office and the NITI Aayog.
NITI Aayog then proposed a 15-point action plan for combating air pollution in the 10 most polluted cities in the country, including Delhi, Kanpur and Varanasi.
The Environment Ministry also released a draft of the National Clean Air Programme. The draft, however, was strongly criticized for the absence of specific targets for pollution reduction.
Greenpeace India said the absence of pollution reduction targets in the plan, of 35 percent in three years and 50 percent in five years, was a cause of "grave concern".