In India, the average life expectancy has shortened by 5.2 years because of an increase of air pollution, according to a new study. It also said that people in the national capital of New Delhi, which is the worst polluted city, could add 9.4 years more years to their lives if air pollution was reduced from the present levels.
The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) released the study, which was based on an analysis of 20 years of pollution levels.
Many regions in India had worse conditions with air pollution above the World Health Organisation guideline. The report said that the average annual particulate pollution increased 42 per cent in India, which has cut short the average life expectancy by 1.8 years. All of India’s 1.4 billion population lives in areas where the annual average particulate pollution level exceeded the WHO guideline and 84 per cent live in regions where it exceeded India’s own air quality standard.
The report said that people in Uttar Pradesh, which is the most polluted state in India, lost 8.6 years due to air pollution. It said that life expectancy was shortened by seven years because of the pollution in Bihar and West Bengal. In Hyderabad, people could have another eight years if the WHO guideline was adhered to.
The report said that Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan accounted for nearly a quarter of the world’s population. Of these four countries, Northern India was the most polluted region in South Asia, the report added.
The report pointed out that industrialisation, population growth and economic development have led to skyrocketing energy demand in these countries over the last 20 years. The number of vehicles on Indian and Pakistan roads also increased fourfold since 2000.