From: Associated Press
Published October 26, 2004 12:00 AM

Lung Ailments Affect Two in Five in India's Polluted Capital, Says Report

NEW DELHI — New Delhi's air pollution has caused lung ailments in two of every five people in this capital city of 14 million, a government study said Monday.


The pollution also is harming people's livers, blood, and immune systems, according to a study commissioned by the federal Central Pollution Control Board, the Times of India reported.


It said the board planned to improve air quality by lowering the allowed levels of pollution in industrial areas, bringing them to the same levels required in residential zones.


Pollution board officials could not immediately be reached for comment.


The findings were based on a questionnaire survey of 2,379 people and on the clinical examination of 1,270 people ages 20-75, the newspaper quoted board member B. Sengupta as saying.


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Those worst affected were taxi drivers, residents of the central New Delhi business hub, and those from poor families, according to the study carried out by the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute.


Researchers compared the findings with those from a study in the Sundarban Islands, which lie in an eastern Indian river.


The study indicated that New Delhi residents have two to three times more respiratory ailments, the newspaper said.


The newspaper did not give the margins of error for either study.


The high pollution levels have been reported despite a November 2000 Indian Supreme Court order, which forced the government to shift polluting industries out of the capital.


It also ordered the government to switch from diesel to compressed natural gas in its buses and taxis, prompting pollution levels to drop significantly.


Source: Associated Press


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