Bangalore: Pollution has become a serious issue that is nearly impossible to curb. A new study by World Health Organization's (WHO) International Agency says that, air pollution is the major cause of cancer and Indian states like Delhi, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Jharkhand show the maximum concentration of life-threatening cancerous elements in the atmosphere, reports Vishwa Mohan for The Times of India.
Interestingly, the figures compiled by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for 2009-11 is in full support with the conclusions of the world health body for placing 'air pollution' elements like tobacco, UV radiation and plutonium under the same category that cause lung cancer.
With concern of the ICMR data which showed that the highest number of lung cancer cases is from Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata in 2009-11, environmentalist and director general of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) Sunita Narain says, "It is a worrying development. We need to take urgent steps to find ways to deal with the menace of air pollution which directly affects our health", reports TOI.She further added by saying, "It's not that we can't do it. Taking the message from what the WHO-backed scientific research has found, the government must immediately make Euro-IV norms in vehicles mandatory across the country and stop incentivizing car users. Government must also focus on public transport in a big way to minimize vehicular air pollution on priority basis."
The National Cancer Control Programme predicted that more than 1.4 million people would suffer from cancer in India by 2026. In Kolkata, out of the total number of cases reported during 2009-11 for cancer, lung cancer had the highest share of 12 percent.
Anumita Roychowdhury, CSE executive director of research and advocacy on air pollution, said that WHO's findings will help in creating an awareness in India. She added that, "This is the first time scientists have evaluated the air people breathe for its cancer-causing potential. This is a sharp departure from assessing only specific pollutants for cancer potency."
Her report brought light on figures of the Delhi Cancer Registry, AIIMS, which claimed that Delhi alone reports 13,000 new cases of cancer every year with 10 percent of them being of lung cancer. It is found that all of these lung cancer patients do not have a history of smoking.
Roychowdhury said, "The situation demands urgent and immediate policy intervention from the government to prevent exposure early in life to reduce risk, as it takes long years for this toxic effect to surface."