Panel of Doctors Issue a Comprehensive Health Advisory Calling Air Pollution a Medical Emergency

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News Desk, News Nation 360 : A comprehensive health advisory ratified by leading Doctors and Health Practitioners from across West Bengal was issued at a press conference organised by the SwitchON Foundation in association with the 'Doctors for Clean Air' (DFCA) forum at the press club earlier. The event held coincides with the National Pollution Control Day, which is observed on December 2 every year in memory of those who suffered and lost their lives in the horrific 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy. This year marks the 37th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. It is observed as a reminder to all of the extent of damage environmental degradation like air pollution can have on human life. The chronic exposure to air pollution has a large similarity with the fateful incident that occurred due to the accidental discharge of the toxic chemical gas methyl isocyanate and other toxic gases from the Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal on the night of December 2, 1984. Dr Suman Mallik from NH Narayana Superspeciality hospital attending the press conference on behalf of the panel stated that they all need to do their part to keep everyone

healthy. Doctors across the world have been warning about the potential risk to human health posed by air pollution, but it has been underestimated until now. However, tackling it could be the greatest health opportunity for the Govt. Health Reform Programme, as well as providing direct co-benefits to human health for an entire generation to come. Doctors attending the press conference called upon all stakeholders to understand the magnitude of this problem. It’s killing millions of people, It’s causing disease, disability, and it's causing huge economic loss to the country. For megacities like Kolkata, residents are on track to lose more than 9 years of life expectancy if 2019 concentrations persist.  As per an earlier study, on average, people in India would live 5.9 years longer if their country met the WHO guideline. Since life expectancy at birth is currently 71 years in India, this suggests that reducing particulate pollution to the WHO guideline throughout the country would raise the average life expectancy to about 77.  A 2019 analysis states - Around 510 million people, all in northern India would live at least 8.5 years longer on average. These people represent nearly 40 per cent of India’s current population. PM2.5 concentration on an average in Kolkata air is currently 20 times above the WHO. While the AQI level in Kolkata is currently around 226 in the month of November 2021. Based on PM2.5 concentration for the past couple of years, the region is expected to witness - high levels of pollution in the coming months.

Pic : Courtesy

Report : Anustup Kundu