New Delhi, December 30: In one of the worst pollution crisis in last two decades, Delhi registered an alarming increase in deaths related to respiratory ailments in 2016, according to official data released by the state government on Saturday. Death related to breathing disorders shot up by 40 per cent in 2016 from 2015 – 6,502 to 9,149 – which is the highest jump from the previous year since 2010. According to Central Pollution Control Board, incidentally, both 2016 and 2010 had seen a sharp rise in dust pollution. Dust is a major cause of pulmonary and cardiac-related ailments.Also Read - International Flights: Air India Announces Fresh Flight Schedule Between India and Thailand | Here’s How to Book Tickets

According to a report, from 2009 to 2010, the number of deaths linked to respiratory problems had gone up from 5,328 to 7,525 – an increase of 41 per cent. Also Read - Weather Update: North India, including Delhi to Shiver At 12 Degrees Next Week, Warns IMD

Earlier there were reports that pollution levels have been high in 2017 as well, but not as bad as 2016. Also Read - Punjab Bans Manufacturing, Sale of Firecrackers Ahead of Diwali; Issues New Timing For Green Crackers | Details Here

Anumita Roychoudhury, executive director (research and advocacy) at the Centre for Science and Environment said that this data proves that the air pollution in Delhi is taking a heavy toll on our health. “We need stricter and sustained measures to bring down pollution levels,” she further added.

In Delhi, the annual average PM10 particulate level in 2016 shot up to 260 ug/m3, more than two-and-a-half times the permissible limit of 100. The city was also engulfed in its worst smog in 17 years in November that year.

On the other side, experts believe that the rising pollution levels in Delhi and NCR could soon see residents walking around carrying oxygen cylinders on their backs to counter it. Experts believe, if the situation in Delhi-NCR remains the same, then citizens would soon need at least five oxygen cylinders in a day.

The rising pollution levels have become the cause of several ailments, including premature birth, strokes, heart and lung disease, decrease in lung immunity, allergies or aggravation of existing allergies, cancer and other acute respiratory diseases.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that the 92 per cent of the world’s population, including those living in India, lives in areas where air quality is below acceptable standards. The WHO further reported that about 88 per cent of premature deaths that takes place in middle-income countries is due to severe air pollution or where the air pollution is escalating.

Another report said that the air pollution in Delhi-NCR occurs due to a complex mix of pollution from human activities such as vehicle emissions, construction, industry, residential fuel burning, dust and sea salt.