40% of Indians are at risk.. US report: Air pollution will shorten their lives by 9 years

Report: High levels of air pollution in India have expanded. AFP

A report issued by a US research group said on Wednesday that air pollution is likely to reduce the life expectancy of nearly 40% of Indians by more than nine years.

The report, prepared by the University of Chicago Energy Policy Institute, said that more than 480 million people living in large areas of central, eastern and northern India, including the capital, New Delhi, suffer from high levels of pollution.

"It is worrying that the high levels of air pollution in India have widened its geographical area over time," the report said.

For example, air quality has deteriorated significantly in Maharashtra in the west and Madhya Pradesh in the center of the country.

Commending the National Clean Air Program launched by India in 2019 to curb dangerous levels of pollution, the report said that "achieving and maintaining the goals of the National Clean Air Programme" would raise life expectancy in the country by 1.7 years and life expectancy in New Delhi by 3.1 years.

The national program aims to reduce pollution in the 102 most polluted cities by 20-30% by 2024 by reducing industrial emissions and vehicle exhaust and other measures.

New Delhi was the world's most polluted capital in 2020 for the third consecutive year, according to IQ Air, a Swiss group that measures air quality levels based on the concentration of particulate matter suspended in the air, known as PM2.5.

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