Within days of medical journal 'The Lancet' reporting that over a million people die in India annually due to air pollution, Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave on Tuesday said reports and figures given out by "foreign organisations" are not conclusive.
Without naming the British journal, the Minister said: "A number of reports have appeared in media about some studies linking deaths to air-pollution. These reports are often based on extrapolations without due scientific validation and there is need for caution before arriving to any conclusion."
Dave asserted that Indian institutions like the Central Pollution Control Board are credible and he completely trusts them.
"I believe in our institutions completely as they are responsible for the data feed and monitoring... We trust them as we trust our army," the Minister said while addressing media persons in New Delhi.
The medical journal's observations, based on 2010 data, said that every day, two persons in India die due to air pollution. In the report, Patna and Delhi were named as being among the most polluted cities.
"It's not rocket science (curbing pollution)... it involves basic waste management, curbing the open burning of residues... regular monitoring of pollution and other factors," the Minister said.
"We are doing whatever is needed to be done... Direct talks with the Chief Ministers and Mayors and regular monitoring and giving guidelines to the local bodies... We can't stay back," the Minister said, adding that Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), which is responsible for the Union Environment Ministry's Graded Response Action Plan, is also in place.
He added that a 42-point guideline to curb air-pollution was given to the local bodies.
"Kolkata's Chittranjan Institute, in a report, said air pollution aggravates the disease but it's not the sole reason," Dave said.
He added that the Environment Ministry is working with the Health Ministry to assess the trends and impact of air pollution.