In the News

August 6, 2019

Air pollution could negate Swachh Bharat benefits for children

Mongabay India cites data from the AQLI indicating that people would live over 4 years longer if the country were to address its air pollution, which is also causing stunted growth in children.
Sahana Ghosh

Improved sanitation access for children in rural areas may arrest stunting but early-life exposure to high levels of air pollution could play spoilsport in realising these benefits, warn researchers amid calls for strengthening air pollution laws to prioritise health.

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, the Indian Statistical Institute Delhi Centre and the University of Texas at Austin explored how early-life exposure to outdoor PM2.5 impacts child health (height-for-age) in India in a study.

They found that that exposure of foetuses (in the last trimester of pregnancy) and newborns to PM2.5 particles is significantly associated with deficits in child height, which has lasting consequences for human capital and potential ramifications for the Indian society and economy.

Dey argued it is extremely important for India to ensure successful implementation of India’s clean fuel programme (Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana), which will not only reduce household air pollution and cause a large improvement in ambient air pollution but also improve child health. 

According to an Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) study, which developed the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), on average, people in India would live 4.3 years longer if the country were to clean its air.

Continue reading at Mongabay India…