Begin typing your search...

Air pollution could cut life expectancy by 9 yrs in N India, in Maha, MP by additional 2.5 yrs: Study

Residents of northern India are on track to lose more than nine years of life expectancy if pollution levels of that of 2019 persist as the region experiences the most extreme levels of air pollution in the world, according to the report

Air pollution could cut life expectancy by 9 yrs in N India, in Maha, MP by additional 2.5 yrs: Study
X
Pollution (file photo)

Chennai

India's air pollution levels have expanded geographicallyover time and increased so much in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh that anaverage person is now losing an additional 2.5 to 2.9 years of life expectancy,according to a new report.

India is the most polluted country in the world, with more than 480 millionpeople or about 40 per cent of its population living in the Indo-Gangeticplains in the north where pollution levels regularly exceed those foundanywhere else in the world by an order of magnitude, stated the University ofChicago's Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) report.

The study by the varsity's Energy Policy Institute ascertains how much longer aperson can live if they breathe clean air. Residents of northern India are ontrack to lose more than nine years of life expectancy if pollution levels ofthat of 2019 persist as the region experiences the most extreme levels of airpollution in the world, it said.

In 2019, India's average particulate matter concentration was 70.3 microgramper cubic meter ( g/m3 ), the highest in the world and seven times the WorldHealth Organisation's guideline of 10 g/m3, the report said. It said thatalarmingly India's high levels of air pollution have expanded geographicallyover time.

"Compared to a couple of decades ago, particulate pollution is no longer afeature of the Indo-Gangetic plains alone. Pollution has increased so much inthe states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. For example, the average personin those states is now losing an additional 2.5 to 2.9 years of lifeexpectancy, relative to early 2000," the report said.

For Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan, the AQLI data reveals that theaverage person would live 5.6 years longer if pollution were reduced to meetthe WHO guidelines, it said. "Due to South Asia's high population andpollution concentrations, the region accounts for 58 per cent of total lifeyears lost due to particulate pollution exceeding the WHO guideline," itsaid.

The benefits of clean air policy are even greater in the Indo-Gangetic plains,where 480 million people regularly breathe pollution levels that exceed thosefound in Europe and North America by an order of magnitude, the report said. Bangladesh,India, Nepal and Pakistan account for nearly a quarter of the global populationand consistently rank among the top five most polluted countries in the world,it said.

As a result, South Asia accounts for 60 per cent of the person-years that areexpected to be lost globally due to pollution levels exceeding the WHOguideline, the University of Chicago's report said. "Average lifeexpectancy across these four countries would be 5.6 years higher if pollutionconcentrations complied with the WHO guideline," it said.

In India and Pakistan, the number of vehicles on the road has increased aboutfour-fold since the early 2000s while in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistancombined, electricity generation from fossil fuels tripled from 1998 to 2017,the report said.

Crop burning, brick kilns, and other industrial activities have alsocontributed to rising particulates in the region, it said. The AQLI, the report said, particulate pollution is the world's greatest threatto human health.

"South Asia is consistently the most polluted region, with the peoplethere seeing their lives shortened by an average of 5 years relative to what itwould be if the region met the WHO guideline and even more in the most pollutedparts of the region like northern India," the report said.

Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!

Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!

Click here for iOS

Click here for Android

migrator
Next Story