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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — in short, severe lung conditions — is now India’s largest cause of death after heart disease.
When he started practising 30 years ago, some 80 to 90 per cent of his lung cancer patients were smokers, mostly men, aged typically in their 50s or 60s.” asks Dr Kumar, who last week launched Doctors for Clean Air to raise awareness about the impact of air pollution. It’s an emergency.” The problem is most acute in India but it is not alone.The Financial Times collated Nasa satellite data of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) — a measure of air quality — and mapped it against population density data from the European Commission to develop a global overview of the number of people affected by this type of dangerous pollution.Increased investment has made renewables India’s second-largest generator of electricity.Yet India’s 246 coal-fired power plants — most of them inefficient and highly polluting — account for 60 per cent of India’s total electricity production, with a combined capacity of 188GW, and coal is likely to dominate the country’s energy mix for decades to come.
But as the time-lapse video of PM2.5 pollution between 19 shows, India is now in a far worse state than its larger neighbour ever was.