More than 480 million people living in the vast swathes of central, eastern and northern India, including the capital New Delhi, endure significantly high pollution levels, said the report by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC).
“Alarmingly, India’s high levels of air pollution have expanded geographically over time,” according to the EPIC study
Air pollution is likely to reduce the life expectancy of about 40 percent of Indians by more than nine years.
Air quality has significantly worsened in the western state of Maharashtra and the central state of Madhya Pradesh, it said.
India’s National Clean Air Program (NCAP), could raise the country’s overall life expectancy by 1.7 years and that of New Delhi residents by 3.1 years. NCAP aims to reduce pollution by 20 to 30 percent in the 102 worst-affected cities by 2024 by ensuring cuts in industrial emissions and vehicular exhaust, introducing stringent rules for transport fuels and biomass burning, and reducing dust pollution. It will also entail better monitoring systems.
Bangladesh could raise average life expectancy by 5.4 years if the country improved air quality to levels recommended by the World Health Organization.