The world has undoubtedly been fighting a deadly pandemic for the past two years and many lives have been lost. However, there are other degrading effects on the planet, and they are just as deadly to us, albeit at a slower rate.
Man-made crises such as global warming and air pollution have an extremely damaging effect on both our planet and our lives. A recent study found that air pollution actually reduces people’s life expectancy. The research also shows that a large world population actually breathes air that is unsafe.
The Energy Policy Institute (EPIC) at the University of Chicago recently released its Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) report, which is not good news.
According to the report, the life expectancy of people around the world has decreased by more than 2 years due to air pollution, and despite the global economy slowing down in recent times due to the pandemic. This effect on life expectancy is comparable to smoking, more than three times greater than drinking too much alcohol or using unclean water, six times greater than HIV/AIDS and 89 times greater than war and terrorism.
You will be shocked to learn that pollution in India has increased rapidly since 2013, representing 44 percent of the global population growth. In the recent past, the most dangerous effects of pollution have been observed in South Asia. Apart from this, people’s health is also affected by pollution in Southeast Asia, Central and West Africa, America and Europe. Those living in the most polluted areas of Southeast Asia, especially the areas around the cities of Mandalay, Hanoi and Jakarta, are expected to live an average of 3-4 years shorter.
According to this study, 97 percent of the world’s population lives in such areas, where air pollution is many times higher than normal. PM2.5 particles in the air cause serious damage to the lungs. The study warns that if air pollution does not become a public health problem, the situation could become more serious.
If the level of PM2.5, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), were lowered by five micrograms per cubic meter worldwide, life expectancy would increase by an average of 2.2 years. According to Dr Sonia Rawat, Director of the Preventive Health and Welfare Department, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (Delhi), our lungs are the most affected by air pollution. The lungs become weak from prolonged exposure to dust, soil and smoke.
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