No data available to link air pollution, life expectancy: Govt in Parliament

Published on Jul 20, 2022 12:36 AM IST

Union Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey had told the Lok Sabha on Monday that there is no conclusive data available to establish a direct correlation of death exclusively due to air pollution.

According to the new WHO guideline issued last year, average annual PM2.5 concentrations should be no higher than five micrograms per cubic metre. It was 10 micrograms per cubic metre earlier. (HT photo)
According to the new WHO guideline issued last year, average annual PM2.5 concentrations should be no higher than five micrograms per cubic metre. It was 10 micrograms per cubic metre earlier. (HT photo)
ByPress Trust of India, New Delhi

There is no linear relationship between air pollution and life expectancy as assumed in the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) published by The Energy Policy Institute, University of Chicago (EPIC), the government has said.

Union Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey had told the Lok Sabha on Monday that there is no conclusive data available to establish a direct correlation of death exclusively due to air pollution.

Earlier, BJD MP from Cuttack Bhartruhari Mahtab had asked if the government has taken note of recent studies that suggests air pollution in the country is likely to reduce the life expectancy of about 40 per cent of Indians by more than nine years.

Choubey responded: “The government is aware of such studies. However, there is no linear relationship between air pollution and life expectancy as assumed in the AQLI as reported in the annual update report by The Energy Policy Institute, University of Chicago.” Air pollution is one of the factors affecting respiratory ailments and associated diseases. Health is impacted by a number of factors which include food habits, occupational habits, socio-economic status, medical history, immunity, and heredity of the individuals apart from the environment, he said.

The AQLI annual update report released by EPIC last month said air pollution is the greatest threat to human health in India and the average Indian resident is set to lose five years of life expectancy if the new WHO guideline is not met.

Residents of Delhi, the most polluted megacity in the world with average annual PM2.5 levels exceeding 107 micrograms per cubic metre or more than 21 times the WHO guideline, stand to lose 10 years of life expectancy if current air pollution level persists, it said.

According to the new WHO guideline issued last year, average annual PM2.5 concentrations should be no higher than five micrograms per cubic metre. It was 10 micrograms per cubic metre earlier.

Measured in terms of life expectancy, the AQLI shows that ambient particulate pollution is consistently the world’s greatest risk to human health.

Globally, air pollution reduces 2.2 years of life expectancy relative to a world that met the WHO guideline.

This impact on life expectancy is comparable to that of smoking, more than three times that of alcohol use and unsafe water, six times that of HIV/AIDS, and 89 times that of conflict and terrorism, the report said.

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