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Air Pollution Is Costing Indians Over An Year Of Their Lives

Air Pollution Is Costing Indians Over An Year Of Their Lives

Air Pollution Is Costing Indians Over An Year Of Their Lives
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You could live longer if not for those tiny-troublesome pollutants flowing in your city’s air. According to researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, the global life expectancy would be on average 0.59 year longer if PM2.5 (particulate matter) concentrations worldwide were limited to the World Health Organization's (WHO) air quality guideline. The researchers also point out that ambient air pollution shortens the life of an Indian by 1.5 years.

PM2.5 is the short form of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns are. These fine particles can enter deep into the lungs and can cause heart attacks, strokes, respiratory diseases and cancer. PM2.5 pollution comes from power plants, cars and trucks, fires, agriculture and industrial emissions. The WHO permission limit is 10 microgrammes per square cubic metre.

Along with India, the life expectancy impact of ambient PM2.5 is especially large in countries such as Bangladesh (1.87 years), Egypt (1.85 years), Pakistan (1.56 years), Saudi Arabia (1.48 years), Nigeria (1.28 years), and China (1.25 years).

The benefit of reaching the stringent target would be especially large in countries with the highest current levels of pollution, with approximately 0.8–1.4 years of additional survival in countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China, they say.

This is the first time data on air pollution and lifespan has been studied together in order to examine the global variations to find out how they affect the overall life expectancy. The team used data from the Global Burden of Disease Study to measure PM2.5 air pollution exposure and its consequences in 185 countries.

They then quantified the national impact on life expectancy for each individual country as well as on a global scale.

"The fact that fine particle air pollution is a major global killer is already well known," said Joshua Apte, who led the study published in the journalEnvironmental Science & Technology Letters.

"For much of Asia, if air pollution were removed as a risk for death, 60 year olds would have a 15 per cent to 20 per cent higher chance of living to age 85 or older… On average, a population lives a year less than they would have otherwise ─ that is something relatable," Apte added.

With inputs from Housing News

Last Updated: Tue Aug 28 2018

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