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Air pollution is becoming one of the biggest health threats as per a new study by the University of Chicago. The toxic air pollutants are reducing the life expectancy by five years in the country. Whereas the pollution is shortening lives by almost 10 years in Delhi,  the Air Quality Life Index by the Energy Policy Institute noted.

As per the analysis, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, and Tripura are among the top-5 polluted states at present.

Globally, India is the second- most polluted country in the world after Bangladesh, where life expectancy was reduced by 6.9 years in 2020 due to polluted air. India's neighbours Nepal and Pakistan are also reeling from air pollution, reducing the life expectancy by 4.1 years and 3.8 years, respectively.

According to the study, particulate air pollution takes 2.2 years off global average life expectancy, or a combined 17 billion life years.

The study claimed that 40% of Indians living in the Indo-Gangetic plains are on track to lose 7.6 years of life expectancy if the current pollution levels persist. People in Lucknow might lose 9.5 years of life expectancy if the pollution persists.

South Asia bears the highest burden of air pollution. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal remain among the top-five most polluted countries in the world. More than half, 52%, of the expected lost life years globally due to high pollution in the region.

India faces the highest health burden of air pollution due to its high particulate pollution concentrations and large population. The particulate pollution levels have increased from 53 micrograms per cubic metre in 2013 to 56 micrograms per cubic metre today—roughly 11 times higher than the WHO limit.

China stands to lose 2.5 years of life expectancy but it has also gained two years due to the reduction in pollution levels since 2013. The country has registered the largest decline in air pollution between 2013 and 2020, with PM2.5 levels falling from 85 to 38 micrograms per cubic metre in just seven years—a 55% decline. From 2019 to 2020, Beijing’s pollution fell by 8.7.

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