Residential biomass burning leading cause of death, says study

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About 267,700 deaths due to air pollution in India in 2015, or nearly a fourth of the deaths attributable to Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5, are caused by residential biomass burning, making it the single largest anthropogenic source of mortality due to air pollution, a new study has found.

The second leading cause was coal burning from thermal electric power plants and industry, which resulted in 169,000 deaths.

Anthropogenic dust (100,000 deaths), open burning of agricultural residue (66,000), and transport, diesel, and kilns (65,000 deaths) were the other factors, the study, Burden of Disease Attributable to Major Air Pollution Sources in India.

It says that three-fourths of the 1.1 million air pollution-related deaths in 2015 were in the rural areas.

It projected that without any control actions, the health burden due to air pollution would increase to 1.7 million deaths in 2030 and more than 3.6 million deaths in 2050.

The study was conducted by IIT Bombay, the Health Effects Institute (HEI), and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

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