New Delhi, Nov 15: When all of us are talking about the deteriorating quality of air in Delhi, a report published in the Lancet journal found that child and maternal malnutrition is the biggest health hazard in India since 1990. It said that the deteriorating quality of air comes at the second spot. It also said that besides malnutrition and the air pollution, dietary risks, high systolic blood pressure and diabetes posed as some of the major risk factors in India in 2016. Another Lancet study says that over 9 million deaths occur worldwide due to air and water pollution.

Air pollution, which was the third largest risk factor in the country in 1990, moved to the second position in the year 2016. The report also analysed change in mortality rates due to the changes in medical advancements – across Indian states. The Lancet report said that underdeveloped states, including Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, have a low epidemiological transition level (ETL). This means that the underdeveloped states in India have a higher risk of suffering from these factors.

Even though Delhi has currently been facing a deteriorating quality of air due to pollution, it faces a marginally lower health risks, when compared to states like Bihar. Delhi’s adjusted life years (DALYs), which is also the lives lost due to air pollution, is 1890. While Bihar has a DALY rate of 4308 and that of Uttar Pradesh is 4390.

A Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) researcher, who analysed the data for Delhi, said that diseases that are triggered by air pollution including cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases (COPD), and cancers have shown a dramatic increase since 1990. He added that in the year 1990, COPD, ranked 13, was one of the top causes of illness and lost life years. “But this has now shot up to rank 3. Similarly, Ischaemic heart disease that is greatly influenced by air pollution has gone up from rank 5 to number 1, diabetes from rank 22 to rank 5 and stroke from rank 16 to rank 15,” he said.

Explaining such variations, a researcher at Public Health Foundation of India said that the people in these states must have comorbidities, which is additional diseases or disorders related to the main disease. “The use of solid fuels, a major contributor to air pollution is also higher in these states,” he added.