New Delhi: Rising pollution levels in India is severely affecting the lifespan of its citizens, curtailing most Indian lives by over three years, says a new study.
As many as 660 millon people live in areas where pollution is dangerously higher than normal safety level, said the study by economists from the University of Chicago, Harvard and Yale published in Economic & Political Weekly.
India is ranked by the World Health organization (WHO) among the worst countries in the world in terms of air pollution levels. Compliance with air quality standards, would add 3.2 years to those 660 million people, in other words it would save 2.1 billion life years.
Author of the study and director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) Michael Greenstone said, “India's focus is necessarily on growth. However, for too long, the conventional definition of growth has ignored the health consequences of air pollution.”
“This study demonstrates that air pollution retards growth by causing people to die prematurely. Other studies have also shown that air pollution reduces productivity at work, increases the incidence of sick days, and raises health care expenses that could be devoted to other goods.” He added
“The loss of more than two billion life years is a substantial price to pay for air pollution,” said Rohini Pande, also an author and director of Evidence for Policy Design at the Harvard Kennedy School.
The new figures also derived conclusions from the WHO estimates which showed 13 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world were in India.
“It is in India's power to change this in cost effective ways that allow hundreds of millions of its citizens to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Reforms of the current form of regulation would allow for health improvements that lead to increased growth,” added Pande.