Air pollution will reduce the life expectancy of about 40% of Indians by more than nine years, according to a report released Wednesday by a US research group.
More than 480 million people living in the vast expanses of central, eastern and northern India, including New Delhi, face significantly high levels of pollution, according to the report prepared by the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute (EPIC). ).
“Disconcertingly, India’s high levels of air pollution have expanded geographically over time,” the EPIC report said.
For example, air quality has deteriorated significantly in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, it said.
The EPIC report praised India’s National Clean Air Program (NCAP), launched in 2019 to curb dangerous pollution levels, and said “achieving and maintaining” the NCAP targets will increase the country’s overall life expectancy by 1.7 years. would increase and that of New Delhi by 3.1 years.
NCAP aims to reduce pollution in the 102 worst-affected cities by 20%-30% by 2024 by reducing industrial and vehicle exhaust emissions, introducing strict regulations for transportation fuels, and burning biomass and dust pollution. to decrease. It will also lead to better monitoring systems.
New Delhi was the most polluted capital in the world in 2020 for the third year in a row, according to IQAir, a Swiss group that measures air quality based on the concentration of lung-harmful particles in the air, known as PM2.5.
Last year, New Delhi’s 20 million residents, who breathed some of the cleanest air ever in the summer due to the coronavirus lockdown, battled toxic air in the winter after a surge in burning farm remains in the nearby states of Punjab and Haryana.
According to EPIC findings, neighboring Bangladesh could increase average life expectancy by 5.4 years if the country improves air quality to the level recommended by the World Health Organization.
To arrive at the life expectancy figure, EPIC compared the health of people exposed to different levels of long-term air pollution and applied the results in several places in India and elsewhere.