A study to assess long term impact of air pollution on children showed lung function reduction in 43.5 per cent schoolchildren in Delhi, Lok Sabha was informed on Friday.
The epidemiological study titled 'Study on ambient air quality, respiratory symptom and lung function of children in Delhi' was undertaken by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata during 2003-05.
"The results showed lung function reduction in 43.5 per cent schoolchildren of Delhi as compared with 25.7 per cent in control group. The lung function reduction was more prevalent in girls than boys in both rural and urban settings," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
He said that to assess the long term impact of air pollution on human health, CPCB has sponsored two studies in Delhi - Epidemiological study on effect of air pollution on human health (adults) in Delhi in 2002-2005 and study on ambient air quality respiratory symptoms and lung functions of Children in Delhi in 2003-2005.
He said that the above studies indicate several pulmonary and systemic changes, altered immunity and damage to chromosomes and DNA and other health impairments associated with cumulative exposure to high level of particulate pollution that increases the risk of various respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
"However the results are indicative rather than conclusive because health effects of air pollution are synergistic and additive which includes a wide range of variations and depend on various factors like food habit, social economic status, medical history and others...," he said.
The government has taken actions to minimise the impact of air pollution which include notification of national ambient air quality standards 2009, formation of regulations to address rising levels of air pollution, setting up of monitoring network for assessment of ambient air quality amongst others.
It has also taken up host of other measures like implementation of Bharat Stage IV norms in 63 cities, Bharat Stage III norms for rest of the country and launch of National Air Quality Index in ten cities.