Air pollution is the biggest threat to human health in India as it reduces life expectancy by an average of five years, a United States-based think tank said on Tuesday.
The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago made the statement as part of its Air Quality Life Index for India.
The institute said that child and maternal malnutrition in India reduce average life expectancy by about 1.8 years, while smoking reduces life expectancy by 1.5 years.
The organisation said that Delhi is the most polluted mega city in the world, and that air pollution in the national capital shortens lives by nearly ten years. It calculated the reduction in life expectancy on the basis of what the average lifespan would have been if the World Health Organization’s guidelines on fine particulate pollution had been followed.
The global health body’s guidelines state that the annual average PM2.5 concentration should not be higher than 5 micrograms per cubic metre.
Particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (or about a ten-thousandth of an inch) is particularly dangerous to human health. Such particles are small enough to travel deep into the respiratory system, potentially impairing lung function.
The Energy Policy Institute said on Tuesday that India accounts for about 44% of the world’s increase in air pollution since…