Air quality: Pollution shortening lives by almost 10 years in Delhi, says study

Image credit: cen.acs.org

According to a survey by a US research firm, air pollution in the Indian capital, Delhi, the world’s most polluted city, can reduce life expectancy by nearly ten years.

WHO says, 1.3 billion Indians live in locations where “annual average particle pollution levels” surpass the WHO acceptable limit of 5g/m3.

Every year, millions of people in India die as a result of poor air quality.

The smoggy air that blankets Indian cities during the winter months contain dangerously high amounts of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, which can clog lungs and trigger a variety of ailments.

According to the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago’s (EPIC) Air Quality Life Index, 510 million people in northern India – over 40% of the country’s population – are “on pace” to lose 7.6 years of their lives due to present pollution levels.

Reducing pollution levels to WHO guidelines, on the other hand, would result in a 10-year increase in life expectancy for an estimated 240 million people in Uttar Pradesh, India’s northernmost state.

According to EPIC, India has contributed around 44% of global pollution since 2013, making it the world’s second most polluted country.

According to the survey, more than 63 per cent of Indians live in locations where air quality exceeds the country’s limit of 40 g/m3. In 2019, India has the highest average particulate matter concentration in the world, with 70.3 g/m3.

Particle pollution is the “greatest hazard to human life” in India, according to EPIC, with life expectancy increasing by 61.4 per cent since 1998. It is thus riskier than smoking, which reduces life expectancy by 2.5 years.

During the previous two decades, India’s air pollution has increased due to industrialisation, economic advancement, and the increased use of fossil fuels. According to the poll, the number of cars on America’s highways has increased nearly fourfold.

It acknowledges the government’s efforts to address air pollution, with the National Clean Air Program (NCAP) aiming to reduce dangerous particulates by 20 to 30%.

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