Air pollution reduces global life expectancy by nearly two years

Fossil fuel-driven particulate air pollution decease the global average life expectancy by 1.8 years per person, according to a new pollution index and accompanying report created by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.

The Air Quality Life Index establishes particulate matter air pollution as the greatest threat to human health globally, due to  life expectancy loss makes it more devastating than communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, behavioral killers like cigarette smoking, and even war. Critically, the AQLI reports these results in tangible terms that are relatable for most people.

Seventy-five percent of the global populations live in areas where particulate pollution exceeds the WHO guideline. Facts say that India and China, which make up 36 percent of the world’s population, account for 73% of life lost due to particulate pollution. On average, people in India would live 4.3 years longer if Particulate concentration is according to the WHO guidelines. Life expectancy in India would rise from 69 to 73 years if particulate pollution decreases.

Globally, the AQLI reveals that particulate pollution cuts average life expectancy shorter by 1.8 years, making it the greatest global threat to human health. By comparison, first-hand cigarette smoke reduces global average life expectancy of about 1.6 years. Other risk factors to human health have smaller effects than air pollution: Alcohol and drugs reduce life expectancy by 11 months; unsafe water and sanitation take off 7 months; and HIV/AIDS, 4 months. Conflict and terrorism take off 22 days. So, the impact of particulate pollution on life expectancy is comparable to that of smoking, twice that of alcohol and drug use, three times that of unsafe water, five times that of HIV/AIDS, and more than 29 times that of conflict and terrorism.

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