Environmental News from China: 

  • 97% of the world lives in areas where pollution exceeds safe levels
  • South Asians lose 5 years of life due to smog
  • No country met WHO’s air-quality standard in 2021

Chronic air pollution cuts average global life expectancy by more than two years per person, a study published on Tuesday showed, an impact comparable to that of smoking and far worse than HIV/AIDS or terrorism.

More than 97% of the global population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds recommended levels, the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute (EPIC) said in its latest Air Quality Life Index, which used satellite data to measure levels of PM2.5, hazardous floating particles that damage the lungs.

It said that if global PM2.5 levels were reduced to the five micrograms per cubic meter recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), average life expectancy would rise by an average of 2.2 years.

Air pollution has been neglected as a public health issue, with funding to address the problem still inadequate, the study warned.

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Source: Reuters