In the News

November 9, 2023

“Air pollution threatens life expectancy — strategies like Gujarat’s pollution market can lower this hazard”

Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago, while speaking to Srijana Mitra Das, outlines why air pollution is a manifold threat — and ways to mitigate it.

What are the key findings of Chicago University’s Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) 2023 study?

Air pollution is the greatest external threat to life expectancy on Earth now — the average person globally is losing 2.3 years. This is also deeply unequal — some parts are relatively clean while in some places, air pollution is taking even more years off a person’s life. South Asia is the most polluted region — in India, breathing the air that exists today over a lifetime means an av ..

What exactly does particulate air pollution do to human beings?

Its most dangerous component comprises very small particles. Humans have cilia in their lungs, hairs that catch large particles which we can cough out. But smaller particles, as in PM2.5, evade these and enter a person’s bloodstream and organs. When these are associated with fossil fuels, they also have bits of metal in them. These oxidise lung cells and cause respiratory diseases. They also impact blood vessels, increasing blood pressure or creating clots, leading to heart problems, strokes and ..

How does high air pollution affect productivity and economic growth?
There is very strong evidence now that workers perform less well during high air pollution — this seems to impair both physiology and cognition. Emerging evidence also shows that exposure to such pollution when you are young and your brain is still developing can compromise people over their lifetime, making them learn and earn less well. There is very compelling evidence thus of productivity being reduced d ..

Continue reading on the Economic Times…