HYDERABAD: Nearly 4,157 people in Hyderabad die prematurely every year due to Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), stroke and lung cancer, all caused by exposure to Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5), a type of contaminant that causes air pollution.
In fact, across India, up to 5.4 lakh persons die prematurely due to PM2.5 exposure annually.
Prof Asif Qureshi and Pritanjali Shinde of IIT, Hyderabad, recorded these shocking numbers in their study titled, ‘Burden of diseases in fifty-three urban agglomerations of India due to particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure’.
PM2.5 constitutes fine particles that contain harmful chemical components, which are released due to various man-made activities and natural disasters, like burning of fossil fuels, biomass, forest fires etc.
They are approximately 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter and remain suspended in air for long periods.
The IIT-Hyderabad researchers report that of the 5.4 lakh premature deaths caused due to PM2.5 exposure every year, around one lakh occur in 53 Indian cities — the most dangerous ones being Delhi (11,945 deaths), Kolkata (9,204), Mumbai (8,817), Bangalore (4,528), Hyderabad (4,157) and Chennai (3,818).
A direct correlation has been observed between PM2.5 concentrations in a city and the number of premature deaths. Also, premature deaths in urban areas could be higher by as much as 59 per cent when compared to rural areas.
Of the various chemical components of PM2.5, organic carbon is the primary cause of premature deaths.