"Air Pollution in Pakistan Rose by 49.9% from 1998 to 2021" "Air Quality Exceeds National Standards for 98.3% of Pakistan's Population" "India Contributes to 59% of Global Pollution Surge" "Air Pollution in Pakistan Surged by 49.9% from 1998 to 2021" "Nearly 98.3% of Pakistan's Population Resides in Areas Exceeding National Air Quality Limits" "India's Impact: 59% of Global Pollution Growth"
"Air Pollution Could Reduce Life Expectancy by 7 Years in Pakistan's Most Polluted Areas"
"University of Chicago Study Reveals Dire Impact on Life Expectancy in Polluted Regions"
A recent study from the University of Chicago's Energy Policy Institute (EPIC) has shown that increasing air pollution in Pakistan, especially in heavily polluted regions like Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, and Peshawar, could lead to a decrease in life expectancy by around seven years. The study, published in the latest Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), highlights the serious consequences of particulate air pollution on health.
The AQLI, which translates particulate air pollution into its effect on life expectancy, indicates that particulate pollution stands as the second biggest health threat in Pakistan after cardiovascular diseases. On average, particulate pollution reduces life expectancy by 3.9 years.
If Pakistan adheres to the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommended guidelines of limiting the average annual PM 2.5 concentration to 5 micrograms per cubic meter, the average person in the country could extend their life by 3.9 years. In contrast, malnutrition, maternal and neonatal disorders, and child health problems decrease average life expectancy by 2.7 years.
The report reveals that the entire population of Pakistan, totaling 240 million people, resides in areas where the annual average particulate pollution level surpasses WHO guidelines. Notably, 98.3% of the population lives in regions exceeding the national air quality standard of 15 micrograms per cubic meter.
From 1998 to 2021, the study indicates that average annual particulate pollution in Pakistan surged by 49.9%, leading to a reduction in life expectancy by 1.5 years.
The provinces most affected by pollution are Punjab, Islamabad, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These areas are home to 65.5 million residents, or 69.5% of Pakistan's population. If pollution levels continue at their current rate, these residents are projected to experience a decrease in life expectancy by 3.7 to 4.6 years relative to the WHO guideline, and by 2.7 to 3.6 years relative to the national standard.
The report suggests that adhering to WHO guidelines would result in significant gains in life expectancy for various cities. Karachi could witness an increase of 2.7 years, while Lahore could potentially gain 7.5 years, and Islamabad about 4.5 years.
Additionally, the study emphasizes that India bears responsibility for approximately 59% of the global increase in pollution since 2013. This indicates the pressing need for international efforts to tackle the shared challenge of air pollution.
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