The Centre today rejected a study which claimed that life expectancy in Delhi has been reduced
by six years because of air pollution, stating that it was based on research done in Europe and America and has been extrapolated to “defame” India.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said this while claiming that the Earth Sciences department did not agree with the findings, a day after his ministry withdrew his statement that quoted him as having said its timing was “motivated” as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi was presently on a visit to US. The statement was withdrawn hours after it was released to the press in an unusual turn of events.
The study in question was done by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) which is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences. It was conducted by IITM scientists in collaboration with the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Colorado, US.
“We reject the claims made in a so-called article that Indians lose six years of their life because of pollution.
This study is based on regional atmospheric chemistry model.
“The research is based on studies done in Europe and America which are being extrapolated on India.
The study is not done on sampling, ground study and long term observations.
So this is completely unnecessary and defames India,” the minister told a press conference here.
Titled as ‘Premature Mortalities due to PM 2.5 (finer particulate matter) and Ozone Exposure in India’, the study found that life expectancy in the national capital has reduced by six years because of air pollution while Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are likely to account for the highest number of premature deaths.
Javadekar said the Earth Sciences department has rejected the claims of the research.
“It is not a study by earth science department and it does not agree with the study. It has completely rejected the study,” he said.
Noting that there are only four major pollutants in Delhi including vehicular and industrial pollution, biomass burning, improper waste disposal and dust, Javadekar said there were other serious air pollutants predominantly present in foreign countries than in India like NOx, SOx and Ozone.
“We recognize pollution as a major problem and are tackling it very seriously. But there are other pollutants also which are harmful to health. Ozone has adverse impact on life and is predominantly present in California.
“NOx is yet another pollutant which is present in Mexico, UK, UAE and China, much more than India. SOx is also very serious and found more in China, Iran and many other
countries,” he said.