Air pollution could potentially reduce the life expectancy of about 40% of Indians by 9 years.
A report prepared by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago showed that more than 480 million people living in central and northern India face high pollution levels.
The study said, “Alarmingly, India’s high levels of air pollution have expanded geographically over time.” It pointed out that the air quality in the western state of Maharashtra and the central state of Madhya Pradesh has worsened.
The National Clean Air Program (NCAP) aims to reduce pollution by 20 to 30 per cent in the 102 worst-affected cities by 2024. The EPIC report said that if these goals were achieved, the country’s life expectancy could increase by 1.7 years, with the life expectancy of New Delhi residents increasing by 3.1 years.
The program aims to cut industrial emissions and vehicular exhaust, introducing stringent rules for transport fuels and biomass burning, and reducing dust pollution.
EPIC also found that Bangladesh could raise average life expectancy by 5.4 years if the country improved air quality levels.
New Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital for the third straight year in 2020, with lung-damaging airborne particles.