The combustion of coal, mainly in power plants, followed by industrial and household settings, has resulted in an increase in the premature mortality rate in India and it needs to phase down from coal as its main source of energy and invest more in renewable and cleaner sources, according to the policy recommendations in The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change report.
Also, air pollution has been recognised as a major determinant for negative health outcomes in India.
Therefore, there is an urgent need to establish regulatory frameworks pertaining to the control of air pollution at the source of its generation such as industrial emissions, construction sites, vehicle exhaust etc., according to the recommendations mentioned in “The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change — Policy Brief for India 2021”.
It is also necessary to ensure the effective implementation of these regulatory measures.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has partnered with The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change to put forward the policy brief for India in 2021. The report highlights how climate change affects health and the need for a timely and robust response for addressing the same, the apex health research body said.
Since 46 per cent of all agricultural emissions in India are contributed by ruminants such as goats, sheep and cattle, the policy brief recommended that the country needs to move away from the traditional animal husbandry practices and invest in newer technologies that will improve animal breeding and rearing practices, use of good livestock feeds and implement proper manure management, all of which will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“The combustion of coal, mainly in power plants followed by industrial and household settings, has resulted in an increase in premature mortality. Therefore, India needs to urgently wean away from coal as its main source of energy and needs to invest more in renewable, cleaner and sustainable sources such as solar, wind or hydro energy,” the recommendations stated.
Data from the 2021 global Lancet Countdown report shows that there has been a nine-per cent increase in the number of deaths related to coal-derived PM2.5 in India in 2019 compared to 2015.
The country has shown great progress in achieving the implementation of the national health emergency framework under core capacity eight of the International Health Regulation (IHR). However, it still needs to further invest in infrastructure, human resources and relevant health systems capacities such as testing and surveillance systems.