Life expectancy in India could be down by 9 years due to extremely high levels of air pollution. A report submitted by a research group in the US revealed that around 480M people in the northern states of India, around 36% of the population, face the most dangerous levels of air pollution. And such extreme air pollution levels are spreading to other parts of the country.
The Energy Policy Institute (EPIC), presented the report which stated that the extreme levels of air pollution are expanding geographically at a rapid pace, as reported by Reuters. Maharashtra, in west India, is facing the worst case of air pollution along with Madhya Pradesh in central India.
EPIC lauded the National Clean Air Program launched by India in 2019. It plans to bring down air pollution down from the dangerous levels that have been affecting the major cities of India, especially New Delhi.
EPIC noted that reaching the targets prescribed by the NCAP could increase by 1.7 years human life expectancy in the country, while residents of Delhi could see an improvement of 3.1 years.
NCAP Targets Reducing Air Pollution Up To 30% By 2024
NCAP has targeted reducing pollution in the country up to 30% by 2024 in 102 cities that have been affected the most. They have pushed for cuts in vehicular and industrial emissions. Stringent norms have been set for the burning of biomass, quality of fuels, and the emission levels permitted for vehicles and industries.
Dust particles have also been a major cause of pollution and the NCAP has pushed for better systems of monitoring.
The capital of New Delhi is the most poisoned capital city in the world for the 3rd year running. IQAir of Switzerland measures the quality of air based on the presence of PM2.5 particles, the particles that contribute the most to damaging levels of pollution and are responsible for damaging lungs severely.
The pandemic-induced lockdown helped the 20M residents of New Delhi breathe clean air for the first time in decades. but this respite was unturned after the burning of farm residue in the neighboring states of Haryana and Punjab, which led to an alarming spike in air pollution.
The report was prepared by comparing levels of air pollution elsewhere and its effects. this was then applied to the Indian context. Bangladesh, India’s neighbor, could also see an increase of 5.4 years in life expectancy if they succeed in improving the quality of air to WHO recommended levels.