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Air pollution can kill Indians five years early: report

Air pollution can kill Indians five years early: report

An average Indian resident is losing five years of their life due to exposure to air pollution. A report by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) indicates that people living in Delhi are losing up to 10 years of life expectancy if the current level of pollution persists.

The report said India faces the highest health burden of air pollution when compared to all the other nations in the world. "It is due to high particulate pollution concentrations and a large population".

According to the WHO guidelines, the average annual PM2.5 concentration should be no higher than five micrograms per cubic metre. Delhi has 21 times more than the allowed average annual PM2.5 levels. It exceeds 107 micrograms per cubic metre.

Experts said 44% of the world's increase in pollution has come from India since 2013. "The particulate pollution level has increased from 53 micrograms per cubic metre to 56 micrograms per cubic metre". This is about 11 times higher than the WHO guidelines.

The report further said the rise in air pollution in India is due to industrialisation and economic development over the last two decades. Population growth, another key factor, has led to high demand for energy and fossil fuel use.

130 crore Indians live in areas where the annual average particulate pollution level exceeds the WHO guidelines. Over 63% of the population is in areas that exceed India's own national air quality standard of 40 micrograms per cubic metre.

The Indo-Gangetic plains is home to more than 50 crores of Indians and it is the most polluted region in India. According to the new report, people living here stand to lose 7.6 years of their life expectancy. Residents of Lucknow in particular may lose 9.5 years of their life.

The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) released by the University of Chicago shows that ambient particulate pollution is consistently the world's greatest risk to human health in terms of life expectancy.

Air pollution globally steals 2.2 years of life expectancy. The impact is comparable to that of smoking. It is also three times higher than that of alcohol use and unsafe water, six times higher than that of HIV/AIDS, and 89 times higher than that of conflict and terrorism.

People living in South Asian nations - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal - are likely to lose the most in terms of life expectancy due to air pollution.

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TAGS:Air pollution Air pollution in India Air pollution in Delhi life expectancy and air pollution University of Chicago 
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