New Delhi: Forty per cent of Indians' life expectancy might get reduced by more than nine years due to air pollution, a study by a US research group published on Monday found, Reuters reported.
The study conducted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) found that more than 480 million of the population residing in the vast areas of central, eastern and northern India, including New Delhi, is affected by significantly high pollution levels. India's air pollution rose to alarming rates, expanding geographically over time, the study report said, has worsened considerably in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
The report lauded India's National Clean Air Program (NCAP), launched in 2019 to restrict dangerous pollution levels. It said that if the NCAP goals are achieved and sustained, the country's overall life expectancy will rise by 1.7 years and 3.1 years in New Delhi.
The NCAP was launched to reduce pollution in 102 worse affected cities from 20% to 30% by 2024. The goal is to be achieved by ensuring cuts in industrial and vehicular emissions, introducing strict rules for transport fuels and burning biomass, and reducing dust pollution. Better monitoring systems were incorporated.
For three consecutive years, New Delhi was the most polluted capital till 2020, as per the air quality measures by IQAir. Last year, the pandemic induced lockdown had eased the situation reasonably. Still, air toxicity increased sharply in winter after the farm residue burning in the nearby states of Haryana and Punjab.
IQAir determines air quality based on the concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM2.5.
According to the EPIC's report, Bangladesh could improve average life expectancy by 5.4 years if they improve air quality levels recommended by the World Health organisation.
EPIC arrive at the life expectancy figure by comparing the health of people exposed to various levels of long term air pollution and applying the results to different places in the particular area subjected.