In the Parliament session on Thursday, the Union Environment Ministry revealed that there were more than 35,000 deaths in the past decade due to acute respiratory infections (ARI) caused by air pollution.

Cases reported every year during the same period is more than 2.6 crore.

Studies conducted at international scale have indicated higher air-pollution deaths in India; however, there has been no official nod to the findings of such studies. Prakash Javadekar, the Environment and Forest Minister, quoted high numbers of annual ARI cases being reported.

“Air pollution is known to be one of the aggravating factors for many respiratory ailments and cardiovascular diseases,” Javadekar stated, sharing the data provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

He also said in the Rajya Sabha that there is an increase in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, etc. caused by exposure to increasing air pollution.

The available data shows 3.48 crore cases were found in 2014 alone, which means more than 95,000 Indians of all ages reported acute respiratory infection every day.

The Indian state West Bengal reported the maximum number of ARI deaths, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Delhi.

According to Health Minister, J P Nadda, 11% Delhiites suffer from asthma and rhinitis.

“As per a survey conducted by Vallabbhai Patel Chest Institute Delhi in 2006, which covered 5,900 adults belonging to urban, rural and slum population in Delhi, 11.69% were found to be suffering from rhinitis and 11.03% from asthma,” Health Minister J P Nadda said in the Lok Sabha.