New report on Household Air Pollution and Noncommunicable Disease

HEI has published a new report on Household Air Pollution and Noncommunicable Disease, which provides a critical assessment of the state of the science examining the linkages between household air pollution formed by the burning of solid fuels and noncommunicable diseases. The report updates previous systematic reviews with the most recent studies and answers fundamental questions on the scientific basis for estimating health burden and what the evidence suggests about the exposure reductions necessary to achieve improved health outcomes. A Summary for Policy Makers is also available.

Key conclusions from the report:

  • Widespread use of solid fuel stoves by approximately one third of the world’s population imposes a heavy burden on global public health. The most recent estimate from the IHME GBD study estimates that in 2016, the number of deaths attributable to HAP was 2.6 million worldwide, making it the 8th leading risk factor globally, and with ambient air pollution, the leading environmental risk factor.
  • Overall, the new evidence reviewed in this report is broadly consistent with previous conclusions that HAP is strongly associated with numerous diseases.
  • Though data gaps and challenges in intervention effectiveness remain, epidemiological evidence indicates that reducing HAP exposures should be an effective way to improve public health worldwide.
  • Accelerating transitions to modern fuels and electricity that are most likely to achieve the necessary exposure reductions would be an ideal path forward.
  • Strategic efforts are now needed to change, and perhaps transform, energy systems to deliver high quality energy services to low-income households, not only for cooking, but also for heating and lighting.


Note: Taken from HEI’s website



Niti Aayog’s Action Plan on Air Pollution

NITI Aayog has released a 15 point action plan to combat air pollution in Indian cities entitled Breathe India: An Action Plan for Combating Air Pollution. Measures discussed in the plan include introduction of low sulphur fuel, promoting the use of electric vehicles, cleaner construction, waste and dust management and behavioural change, among a longer list of action points.

The action plan includes a mix of immediate and long-term actions aimed towards improvement in air quality.

Link to the report 

Guidebook on urban air quality

New open-access resource on urban air quality

The Guidebook presents the results of the AIRUSE LIFE Project (LIFE11 ENV/ES/584) offering a state-of-the-art compilation of measures to improve air quality in cities ( The primary goal is to assess Southern European environments, although many of the suggested measures can be applied to other regions.


The Guidebook, available in five languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Greek) consists of 7 chapters. The “Guidebook of measures to improve urban air quality” is a free and useful tool for policy, research, education, industry and environmental agencies to improve air quality in cities in the short and long term. All chapter of the book are available for free download.

New study on source apportionment of PM2.5 in India

A new study on sources of PM2.5 in India has been released by Greenpeace and the Air-Weather-Climate (AWC) research group at Louisiana State University.  The report is entitled Source Apportionment, Health Effects and Potential Reduction of Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5).

The top four sources for PM identified in this analysis include coal-fired power plants, industrial emissions, use of solid fuels at the household level and brick kilns. Other key observations include:

  1. Concentrations of PM2.5 were highest in the Indo-Gangetic region, including northern and eastern India. PM2.5 concentrations were higher during winter and lower during monsoon season.
  2. Reducing residential emission from solid fuels combustion and reducing
    power sector emissions affect PM2.5 concentration most, followed by reducing municipal solid waste burning and new emission standards applying in industry sector.
  3. Except in southern India, where sulfate was the major component of PM2.5, primary organic aerosol (POA) fraction in PM2.5 was highest in all regions of the country.

The press release is available here  (in Hindi), the briefing can be accessed here and the full report can be accessed here.

Download the report

H/T: Sunil Dahiya, Greenpeace India

State of Global Air 2018

The Health Effects Institute has launched the State of Global Air 2018. More about the analysis and report from HEI: 


Most of the world’s population lives in areas where air quality is unhealthy. An estimated 95% of people live in areas where ambient (outdoor)  fine particulate matter concentrations (small dust or soot particles in the air) exceed the World Health Organization’s Air Quality Guideline of 10 µg/m3. Almost 60% live in areas where fine particulate matter exceeds even the least stringent WHO interim air quality target of 35 µg/m3.

What is the State of Global Air?

The State of Global Air project is a joint effort by the Health Effects Institute, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), and the University of British Columbia. It is based on data from IHME’s Global Burden of Disease, an extensive scientific analysis of over 300 diseases and causes of death in 195 different countries and territories, and of the 84 behavioral, dietary, environmental, and occupational risk factors that contribute to them.

Read more about State of Global Air here. You can explore the data here and use it (it is all open access!). A report is also available for download.

Burden of Disease Attributable to Major Air Pollution Sources in India

Health Effects Institute (HEI) has released a report entitled Burden of Disease Attributable to Major Air Pollution Sources in India (Special Report 21) which provides the first comprehensive analysis of the levels of fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5) in India by source at the state level and their impact on health.

It is the result of the Global Burden of Disease from Major Air Pollution Sources (GDB MAPS) project, an international collaboration of the Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay), HEI, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (Seattle, WA). The analysis reports that air pollution exposure contributed to some 1.1 million deaths in India in 2015. Household burning emissions (contributing to outdoor air) and coal combustion are the single largest sources of air pollution-related health impact, with emissions from agricultural burning, anthropogenic dusts, transport, other diesel, and brick kilns also contributing significantly. Using three different scenarios projecting out to the year 2050, the study identifies in detail the challenges posed by the many sources of air pollution in India, but also highlights the significant progress that can be made.

Download the press release and the full report.

Reproduced from the HEI website 

APnA City Program

Dr. Sarath Guttikunda, and the team is launching the APnA City Program (link) in New Delhi today. apna_program_logo2

What is APnA?

“The Air Pollution Knowledge Assessment (APnA) City Program aims at creating a baseline of air pollution related information for Indian cities, which can lead to an estimate of pollution source contributions – a necessary starting point for the policy makers to chart out strategies for better air quality. One of the main challenges is that data in an easy to use format is hard to come by and most of the estimates and information that we have compiled under this program are the only available information (especially in the case of tier-2 cities).”

Read more about it here.

Final thoughts from the team on air pollution in Indian cities:

“Air pollution in Indian cities is a symptom of inadequate urban planning and a byproduct of industrial activity. Unless there is a sustained effort to address the causes of air pollution at its source, the problem will only exacerbate over time. Many of these cities have grown rapidly and the infrastructure and systems are yet to catchup with growing urban population, more waste generation (per capita and totals), greater share of motorized transport for individual and commercial purposes, an increase in industrial and manufacturing activity, and a growing demand for clean fuels for cooking and heating. With the lack of systems, cities resort to ad-hoc methods to deal with increased pressure on existing infrastructure. Hence cities need to start planning by anticipating the challenges they will face as they grow and be proactive about solutions to reduce air pollution.”

Dr. Gutikunda is presenting the key findings from this assessment today in New Delhi starting at 10 AM (Casuarina Hall, India Habitat Centre). 


Implementation Action Plan to clean Delhi’s air

Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy  is an independent think-tank doing legal research and assisting government in making better laws. Today, they released a report documenting an implementation action plan for cleaning Delhi’s air.

Lack of implementation is one of the biggest bottlenecks in improving air quality in Delhi, and through the action plan, VCLP has identified cross-sectoral measures—legislative, executive, policy, financial that can help convert ideas into action. While this report focuses on Delhi, several proposals can be implemented across cities in India.

Access the full report here