Living in India’s capital city New Delhi could shorten your life by six years because of the intensity of the air pollution there, a new report says.
Inhaling tiny air pollutants reduces the life expectancy of Indians by an average of 3.4 years, with Delhi residents losing 6.3 years, the most of all states, according to a new study by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.
Those living in West Bengal and Bihar, which have high levels of air pollution, face a reduction in life expectancy of 6.1 years and 5.7 years respectively.This analysis is based on population modeling combining data from the 2011 Census of India with air particulate data. More information about the specific causes of the pollution appeared in a separate story published yesterday by Nature.com.
The pollution, which comes mainly from combustion of wood, coal, gas, diesel and crop residue, is worst in the winter, when wood-burning peaks and cold-weather inversions trap pollutants close to the ground and cause spikes in the daily average of above 600 μg m−3. Late last year, the levels prompted the Delhi High Court to declare the city a “gas chamber”.The Nature article notes that India has been working to improve the problem, following in the famous steps of Los Angeles and Mexico City, but continued population growth compounds the problem at every step.