Indians would live a lot longer if air quality improves

India is one of the most polluted countries in the world and air pollution is a major threat to health, said a report on the Air Quality Life Index

GN Bureau | September 12, 2017


#air pollution   #Delhi   #WHO   #health   #Air Quality Life Index  


If India reduced its air pollution to comply with the WHO’s air quality standard, its people could live about 4 years longer on average, or a combined more than 4.7 billion life years, said the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) brought out by Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.
 
“There are currently an estimated 4.5 billion people around the world exposed to particulate pollution levels that are at least twice what the World Health Organization (WHO) considers safe. India is one of the most polluted countries in the world and air pollution is a major threat to health,” said the report
 
“If the country reduced pollution to comply with its national standards, its people could live more than 1 year longer on average, or a combined more than 1.6 billion life years.
 
“Some of the greatest gains would be seen in the country’s largest cities, such as Delhi. There, people could live 6 years longer if the country met its national standards, and 9 years longer if the country met WHO standards. The people of Kolkata and Mumbai could live roughly 3.5 years longer if the country met WHO standards.”
 
 
The report said that India is already taking action to reduce pollution. “EPIC-India is currently working with the central government and several state pollution control boards to implement India’s first emissions trading program for particulate pollution. The program will be the world’s first trading program specifically for particulate pollution.”
 
Michael Greenstone, director, Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, said: “High levels of air pollution are a part of people’s lives in India, just as they were in the U.S., England, Japan and other countries in the past. The last several decades have seen tremendous progress in many of these countries, but this progress did not happen by accident — it was the result of policy choices. As India navigates the dual and conflicting goals for economic growth and environmental quality, the AQLI provides a tool to make the benefits of policies to reduce air pollution concrete.”
 
 
The Air Quality-Life Index translates particulate pollution concentrations into the impact on lifespans. Specifically, it provides a reliable measure of the potential gain in life expectancy if pollution concentrations are brought into compliance with WHO, national standards, or some other norm.
 
It serves as an important complement to the frequently used Air Quality Index (AQI), which is a complicated function of air pollution concentrations and does not map directly to health. They indicate that particulates are the greatest current environmental risk to human health and rank up there with cigarette smoking and a few other culprits in the who’s who of the greatest behaviourally related killers.
 
 
 
 

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