New Delhi: It’s no secret that the pollution in India is one of the worst in the world, especially in certain cities like Delhi and Kolkata.
According to a study by a US research group, air pollution could reduce life expectancy of about 40% of Indians by more than nine years.
The report, prepared by Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), states that more than 480 million people living in central, eastern and northern India, including the nation’s capital, live amid significantly high pollution levels.
“Alarmingly, India’s high levels of air pollution have expanded geographically over time,” the EPIC report said, adding that the air quality has worsened a lot in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
The EPIC study lauded India’s National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) — which was launched in 2019 to check dangerous pollution levels. If NCAP goals were “achieved and sustained”, India’s overall life expectancy could be raised by 1.7 years and that of New Delhi by 3.1 years.
NCAP’s target is to reduce pollution in India’s 102 worst-affected cities by 20%-30% by the year 2024. The measures through which such goals are sought to be met are by ensuring cuts in industrial emissions and vehicular exhaust, introducing stringent rules for transport fuels and biomass burning and reduce dust pollution.
According to Swiss group IQAir, New Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital for the third straight year in 2020. IQAir measures air quality levels based on concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM2.5.
Thanks to the coronavirus-induced lockdowns, residents of India’s worst-affected cities breathed some of the cleanest air on. Once restrictions were relaxed, the situation was back to what it used to.