According to a recent study by researchers from the University of Chicago, Yale and Harvard, more than half of India’s population lives in places with such polluted air that each person loses an average of 3.2 years in life expectancy.
This means that 660 million Indians lose 2.1 billion years as a result of air pollution.
A World Health Organization study last year found that 13 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India. Also, the worst city for air pollution is New Delhi. India’s government pays no attention to these startling statistics and has made economic development its priority. In fact, India has announced its intention to double the country’s use of coal over the next five years, which will worsen the country’s air pollution.
Figure 1. http://www.globalgujaratnews.in/uploads/news/02_2013/1360751992_07TH_AIR_POLLUTION_886689f.jpg
This pollution causes serious health issues. According to the World Health Organization, India has the world’s highest death rate from chronic respiratory diseases, and more deaths from asthma than any other nation. Air pollution also contributes to both chronic and acute heart disease, which happen to be the leading cause of death in India. In addition to human health problems, the air pollution may also cut agricultural production by a third.
Figure 2. http://airpollutionindia.weebly.com/uploads/2/0/3/0/20303009/489667946_orig.jpg?448
This graph shows the PM(particulate matter) in the air. The amount in the air is clearly over a healthy limit.
What is being done to help? Since the Indian government shows little signs of helping with air pollution, the country needs help from the international community. The United States says it will expand air-quality monitoring. This program will help other countries develop their own air-quality monitoring through training and advise with American experts. This will also benefit the U.S. because it will help United States citizens abroad reduce their exposure to pollution. The program is also run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It will begin to operate in India in a few months. American diplomatic missions will also monitor air quality Vietnam and Mongolia.