Pollution has cut life expectancy in India by seven years: Study    

at 8:10 am
Delhi air quality
File Photo

New Delhi (NVI): A 72 per cent increase in pollution in India, making it the “second most polluted country,” had shortened the lives of its residents by 3.4 years to 7.1 years by 2016, a new study, involving 225 countries conducted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) has said.

“By 2016, a 72 percent increase in pollution in the region further shortened the lives of residents by 3.4 years to 7.1 years, relative to if air quality met the WHO guideline.

In comparison, lower concentrations of pollution in the rest of the country are allowing residents to live longer than those in the Indo-Gangetic Plain,” the study done in terms of PM2.5 said.

However, it may be noted that the latest Sample Registration Survey for 2013-17, found that the life expectancy of India has improved from 67 years in 2011 Census figures to 69 years.

If the current pollution level continues, the life expectancy of the people living in the seven states of the Indo-Gangetic plain Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal the average would be cut short by seven years to only 62 due to dangerous level of air pollution. Residents of 14 cities, including Delhi, faced risk of losing more than 10 years of life expectancy due to pollution, the study said.

“Across India, reducing particulate pollution to the World Health Organization’s guideline of 10 µg/m3 would increase the national average life expectancy by 4.3 years. In north India, there would be outsize impacts of policy that reduces air pollution to meet Indian or International norms,” the study said.

The Energy Policy Institute at Chicago, or EPIC, is an interdisciplinary research and training institute focused on the economic and social consequences of energy policies.

The study said that in 2019, India launched its National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which aims to reduce particulate pollution by 20-30 percent nationally, to be implemented over the next five years.

“If successful in meeting its goals and sustaining the reduced pollution levels, the NCAP would produce substantial benefits, extending the life expectancy of the average Indian by about 1.3 years. Those in the Indo-Gangetic Plain would gain about two years onto their lives,” the study said.

–nad / rb