Air Pollution Brings Down Life Expectancy In India By 2.6 Years: Study
Life expectancy in India has dropped by 2.6 years due to deadly diseases caused by air pollution, a report released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) revealed. According to the report, outdoor and household air pollution together are the cause behind these deadly diseases.
This combined exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution, South Asians, including Indians have their life expectancy reduced to a number much higher than the global average of 20 months. This means, a child born in countries other than South Asia will die 20 months sooner than would be expected while in India they would die 2.6 years earlier.
According to the report, while outdoor pollution accounted for a loss of nearly one and a half years, household air pollution accounted for another one year and two months.
“Air pollution is now the third highest cause of death among all health risks ranking just above smoking in India. This is a combined effect of outdoor particulate matter (PM) 2.5, ozone and household air pollution,” the report read.
Among the many diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at 49 per cent was responsible for close to half of deaths, followed by lung cancer deaths at 33 per cent, diabetes and ischaemic heart disease at 22 per cent each and stroke at 15 per cent.
Which are the most-affected cities?
In April, India-based environment group Climate Trends, quoting the last year's World Health Organisation (WHO) list of most polluted cities said the worsening air quality in Indian cities is on further decline. According to the WHO report, the air quality in Varanasi (ranked third) has been deteriorating faster than other towns in the state (Uttar Pradesh), largely due to a lot of construction in the city. Similarly, Delhi is ranked sixth on the list .
Another report, IQAir AirVisual 2018 World Air Quality, prepared in collaboration with Greenpeace Southeast Asia, showed that the 20 most polluted cities in the world, out of which 15 were in India, with Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida and Bhiwadi in the top six. India's national capital region (NCR) emerged as the most polluted region in the world.
"Industries, households, cars, and trucks emit complex mixtures of air pollutants, many of which are harmful to health. Of all of these pollutants, fine particulate matter has the greatest effect on human health," the report said, pointing out the major reasons behind air pollution.
"Most fine particulate matter comes from fuel combustion, both from mobile sources such as vehicles and from stationary sources such as power plants, industry, households, agriculture or biomass burning," the report added.
What impact it has on the economy?
Another global report has indicated air pollution due to crop residue burning causes Punjab, Haryana and Delhi an estimated economic loss of $30 billion annually. It is a leading risk factor of acute respiratory infections, especially among children, according to the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
The study found that living in districts with air pollution from intense crop residue burning (CRB) is a leading risk factor for acute respiratory infection (ARI), particularly in children less than five years of age.
"Among other factors, smoke from the burning of agricultural crop residue by farmers in Haryana and Punjab especially contributes to Delhi's poor air, increasing the risk of ARI three-fold for those living in districts with intense crop burning," Samuel Scott, IFPRI Research Fellow and co-author of the study, said.
With inputs from Housing News