Regular exercise is recognised as providing significant lifestyle-related protection against non-communicable diseases. It can also reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, cancer and premature death. By contrast, long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) can increase the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, leading to premature death.
Outdoor exercise might increase the inhalation and deposition of air pollutants, potentially counteracting its beneficial effects. Evaluation of this risk–benefit relationship has become an important public health concern because more than 91% of the global population lives in areas where air quality fails to meet the 2005 World Health Organization guidelines.
Suman Chakrabarti, Md Tajuddin Khan and Samuel Scott
Respiratory infections are the most common
chronic disease in children globally and a leading cause of death in developing
countries. This situation is exacerbated by air pollution.
Air pollution in northern India, mainly New Delhi and the neighbouring states, is exacting a toll on the health of residents, making global headlines and highlighting the severity and extent of this public health disaster in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
A contributory factor to air pollution in northern India is the harmful practice of crop residue burning — when farmers burn the crop residue to clear fields before sowing a new crop. Although banned by the Indian government in 2015, this practice remains prevalent in many parts of the northern Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.