Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar
Responding to a number of queries about air pollution in the Lok Sabha on Friday, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said there have been no Indian studies to show that there is a direct impact of pollution on lifespan.
“No Indian study has shown pollution shortens life. Let us not create fear psychosis among people,” said Javadekar. Referring to studies that indicate a link between pollution and reducing life expectancy, he said such studies “might not be based on first-generation data”.
The minister further said that the Centre has launched the National Clean Air Programme to tackle air pollution across the country. “Under NCAP, 102 non-attainment cities have been identified based on ambient air quality data for the period between 2011-2015 and WHO report 2014/18,” he said.
However, Anumita Roy Choudhury of the Centre for Science and Environment, speaking to The Indian Express, pointed to a 2017 study which was a joint initiative of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Public Health Foundation of India, the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and the Health Ministry.
“Globally and also in India, there is plenty of evidence now that shows that air pollution has a direct impact of premature deaths... There is a lot of evidence from scientists as well as doctors that shows the biological ramifications of air pollution... If this is not a concern, then the government itself would not have an Air Act...”