Graphic shows air pollution levels in India as of Nov 5, and average loss in life expectancy in the world and India from 1998 to 2016 due to pollution.


Poor air cuts lives short by 7 years in India

By Jordi Bou

November 5, 2019 - As smog chokes New Delhi, a new study shows air pollution can cut life expectancy by up to seven years across a wide swathe of northern India, home to about 40 per cent of the population.

More than 480 million people reside in the seven States and union territories comprising the bulk of the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) region of north India namely Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), produced by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), shows there has been a 72% increase in pollution from 1998 to 2016 in the IGP region. In 1998, the impact on people’s lives from dirty air would have been 3.7 years of life expectancy.

In 1998, citizens living outside of the IGP region lost 1.2 years of life relative to what it would have been if air quality met the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. In 2016, citizens in non-IGP states lost about 2.6 years of life compared to 7 years in the IGP region.

Delhi entered its 10th consecutive day of hazardous air pollution on Tuesday, according to air quality analysts IQAir AirVisual, making it the longest string of severely polluted days for the city since records began in 2016.

PUBLISHED: 05/11/2019; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images
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