“67.4 percent of the country’s population lives in areas that exceed the country’s national air quality standard of 40 micrograms per cubic metre,”
The 30th of August, New Delhi: According to a study conducted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, an average Indian’s life expectancy is reduced by 5.3 years as a direct result of exposure to air pollution.
According to the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) report for 2023, which was published on Tuesday, certain regions in India score far worse than the norm, with air pollution in the capital city of Delhi reducing life expectancy by 11.9 years.
“After China, India is the second most polluted nation in the world. According to the paper, fine particle air pollution (PM2.5) reduces the life expectancy of the typical Indian by 5.3 years in comparison to what it would be if the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of 5 ug/m3 was fulfilled.
According to this report, every single one of India’s 1.3 billion residents lives in a region where the yearly average level of particle pollution is higher than the threshold set by the WHO.
According to the research, 67.4 percent of the population lives in places that have air quality that is worse than the country’s national limit, which is 40 g/m3 for overall air quality.
According to the findings of the paper, the most significant risk to human health in India is posed by particle pollution when measured in terms of life expectancy.
The Air Quality Life measure (AQLI) is a kind of pollution measure that illustrates how the presence of particle air pollution affects one’s life expectancy.
The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) is based on research that quantifies the causal relationship between long-term human exposure to air pollution and life expectancy. The AQLI was developed by Michael Greenstone, who is the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago, and his team at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC).
Following this, the Index integrates this study with hyper-localized satellite measurements of global particulate matter (PM2.5), which results in unique insight into the actual cost of pollution in communities all over the globe.
The report claims that if pollution levels remain the same as they are now, 521.2 million residents of India’s most polluted region, the Northern Plains, or 38.9 percent of the country’s total population, are on track to lose 8 years of life expectancy on average relative to the WHO guideline and 4.5 years relative to the national standard. This is the case in the event that pollution levels remain the same as they are now.
The average life expectancy of an Indian is reduced by around 4.5 years due to cardiovascular illnesses, while it is reduced by 1.8 years due to child and maternal malnutrition.
According to the findings of the analysis, the average life expectancy of citizens in Delhi, India’s capital and most populous city, would increase by 11.9 years if India were to decrease particle pollution to the level recommended by the WHO.
Residents in North 24 Parganas, the district with the second highest population in the nation, would see an increase of 5.6 years in their life expectancy.
India has signalled its aim to decrease particle pollution by declaring a “war against pollution” in 2019 and launching its National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). Both of these events took place in 2019.
NCAP’s initial goal was to lower particle pollution by 20-30 percent nationwide compared to 2017 levels by the year 2024. The program’s primary emphasis was on 102 cities in India that did not satisfy India’s national annual average PM2.5 standard and were thus referred to as “non-attainment cities.”
The Indian government did not establish a national objective for the particle pollution reduction target that they declared for NCAP in 2022; however, they did increase their degree of ambition at the municipal level.
By the year 2025-26.3, the revised target calls for a decrease of 40 percent compared to the levels recorded in 2017, and it applies to an increased number of non-attainment cities.
If the ambitious new goal is achieved, the total annual average PM2.5 exposure in these cities will be 21.9 g/m3 lower than it was in 2017. According to the findings of the survey, “this would add 2.1 years onto the life of the average Indian living in these specific 131 cities and 7.9 months onto the life of the average Indian living across the country.”