Air pollution likely to cut 9 years of life expectancy of 40% of Indians

The study by University of Chicago's Energy Policy Institute ascertains how much longer a person can live if they breathe clean air. It said that India's high levels of air pollution have expanded geographically over time.
Air quality has significantly worsened in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the study said.(Representative Photo)
Air quality has significantly worsened in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the study said.(Representative Photo)
Published on Sep 01, 2021 12:05 PM IST
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Byhindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A new study has claimed that air pollution is likely to reduce the life expectancy of about 40 per cent of Indians by more than nine years. It has been conducted by Energy Policy Institute of University of Chicago.

The study said that more than 480 million people living in central, eastern and northern India, including Delhi, endure significantly high pollution levels. It also said that India's high levels of air pollution have "alarmingly expanded geographically over time".

The report particularly highlighted the situation in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, where an average person is now losing an additional 2.5 to 2.9 years of life expectancy.

To arrive at the life expectancy number, the researchers compared the health of people exposed to different levels of long-term air pollution and applied the results to various places in India and elsewhere.

The report has said that if the pollution level 2019 continue, the people living in north India are on track to lose more than nine years of life expectancy.

In 2019, India's average particulate matter concentration was 70.3 microgram per cubic meter (μg/m3 ), the highest in the world and seven times the World Health Organisation's (WHO) guideline of 10 μg/m3, the report said.

Unoted that the South Asian region, which includes Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan, accounts for nearly a quarter of the global population and consistently rank among the top five most polluted countries in the world.

"Due to South Asia's high population and pollution concentrations, the region accounts for 58 per cent of total life years lost due to particulate pollution exceeding the WHO guideline," it said.

It further said that an average person in South Asia would live 5.6 years longer if pollution were reduced to meet the WHO guidelines.

Lauding India's National Clean Air Program (NCAP), launched in 2019 to rein in dangerous pollution levels, the report said that "achieving and sustaining" the NCAP goals would raise the country's overall life expectancy by 1.7 years and that of New Delhi 3.1 years.

The NCAP aims to reduce pollution in the 102 worst-affected cities by 20%-30% by 2024 by ensuring cuts in industrial emissions and vehicular exhaust, introducing stringent rules for transport fuels and biomass burning and reduce dust pollution. It will also entail better monitoring systems.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021