New Delhi: Air pollution is a major threat to human health in India, reducing the life span of five years with the most polluted state of Delhi, earning an average of 10 years if the annual average pollution level does not exceed five micrograms per cubic meter. The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) was released Tuesday to the Energy Policy Institute (EPIC) at the University of Chicago. In contrast, child and mother malnutrition reduces the average life expectancy by about 1.8 years and smoking by 1.5 years, it said.
Delhi is the most polluted state, with an average of 9.7 years of life lost last year, according to an analysis by AQLI, with the old revised World Health Organization (WHO) targeting 10 micrograms per cubic meter to reduce disease burden. According to this year’s analysis, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Tripura are among the top five polluted states, which will get the most out of life if pollution levels are met.
Globally, India is the second most polluted country before Bangladesh, where life expectancy is reduced by 6.9 years in 2020 due to poor air and Nepal (4.1 years), Pakistan (3.8 years) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (2.9 years).
AQLI has found that particulate air pollution takes 2.2 years or a total of 17 billion lifetimes. The impact of life expectancy is comparable to smoking, three times higher than alcohol use and unsafe water, six times higher than HIV / AIDS, and 89 times higher than conflict and terrorism.
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All 1.3 billion people in India live in areas where the annual average particulate pollution level exceeds the WHO limit. The analysis found that more than 63% of the population lives in areas that exceed 40 micrograms per cubic meter of the country’s own national annual air quality standard.
Since 1998, the average annual particle pollution has increased by 61.4%, leading to a further decrease in the average lifetime of 2.1 years. Almost 44% of the global pollution increase since 2013 has come from India.
On the Indo-Ganges plain, if current pollution levels continue, 510 million residents, about 40% of India’s population, are on track to lose an average of 7.6 years of life. Lucknow residents will lose a life span of 9.5 years if pollution levels continue.
AQLI translates particulate air pollution into its impact on life. This quantifies the causal relationship between air pollution and prolonged human exposure to life.
For its fresh analysis, the AQLI team used air pollution data from 2020 on when the Covid-19-related sanctions were imposed globally. “According to new and revised satellite-derived PM2.5 data, the global population’s weight-average PM2.5 level has dropped from 27.7 to 27.5 micrograms per cubic meter between 2019 and 2020 – more than five times the WHO’s revised guideline micrograms per cubic meter “Despite the rapid slowdown in economic activity across the globe, in fact, today’s global particulate matter concentrations are the same as in 2003,” the analysis said.
AQLI Director Christa Hasenkopf said that air pollution is a very stubborn problem and requires consistent and robust action.
South Asia has the highest burden of air pollution. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal remain among the top five most polluted countries in the world. South Asia accounts for more than half, 52%, of globally lost lives due to high pollution. In each of these countries, the impact of air pollution on life expectancy is significantly greater than that of other major health threats.
Average residents of the four countries are exposed to particulate pollution levels, which is 47% higher than at the turn of the century. If pollution levels stabilized over 2000, residents in these countries would be on the path to losing 3.3 years of life.
India faces a high health burden of air pollution globally because of its high particle pollution concentrations and high population. Particle pollution levels have increased from 53 micrograms per cubic meter in 2013 to 56 micrograms per cubic meter today – roughly 11 times the WHO limit.
China is losing 2.5 years of life but it has gained two years since 2013 due to a reduction in pollution levels. China’s pollution has been decreasing since the country launched a “war on pollution” in 2014. This decline continued until 2020. The level of pollution is down 39.6% compared to 2013, the analysis said. Given these reforms, the average Chinese citizen can expect to live for two years, with cuts continuing. Beijing recorded the largest drop in air pollution between 2013 and 2020, with PM2.5 levels dropping from 85 to 38 micrograms per cubic meter in just seven years — a 55% decline. From 2019 to 2020, Beijing’s pollution decreased by 8.7 percent.