Purpose of review
The review describes current status of air pollution in India, summarizes recent research on adverse health effects of ambient and household air pollution, and outlines the ongoing efforts and future actions required to improve air quality and reduce morbidity and mortality because of air pollution in India.
Global burden of disease data analysis reveals more than one million premature deaths attributable to ambient air pollution in 2015 in India. More than one million additional deaths can be attributed to household air pollution. Particulate matter with diameter 2.5 μm or less has been causatively linked with most premature deaths. Acute respiratory tract infections, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, exacerbations of preexisting obstructive airway disease and lung cancer are proven adverse respiratory effects of air pollution. Targeting air quality standards laid by WHO can significantly reduce morbidity and mortality because of air pollution in India.
India is currently exposed to high levels of ambient and household air pollutants. Respiratory adverse effects of air pollution are significant contributors to morbidity and premature mortality in India. Substantial efforts are being made at legislative, administrative, and community levels to improve air quality. However, much more needs to be done to change the ‘status quo’ and attain the target air quality standards.