AQLI

More Reports from AQLI

Reports

China Fact Sheet

For almost two decades, China remained one of the top five most polluted countries in the world. But after launching a successful “war against pollution” in 2014, China was able to reduce its particulate pollution by about 40 percent—dropping the country from its top five ranking in recent years. In fact, from 2013 to 2018, almost three-quarters of the global reduction in particulate pollution came from China. If the reductions are sustained, China’s people can expect to live some 2 years longer. The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area, one of China’s most polluted areas in 2013, saw a 41 percent reduction in particulate pollution, translating to a gain of 3.4 years of life expectancy for its 108 million residents, if sustained.

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Fact Sheets

India Fact Sheet

India is today the world’s second most polluted country. Air pollution shortens the average Indian life expectancy by 5.2 years, relative to what it would be if the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline was met; 2.3 years relative to what it would be if pollution were reduced to meet the country’s own national standard. Some areas of India fare much worse than average, with air pollution shortening lives by 9.4 years in the capital of Delhi and 8.6 years in Uttar Pradesh, the most polluted state.

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Fact Sheets

Pakistan Fact Sheet

Pakistan is today the world’s fifth most polluted country. Air pollution shortens the average Pakistani’s life expectancy by 2.7 years, relative to what it would have been if the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline was met. Some areas of Pakistan fare much worse than average, with air pollution shortening lives by more than 4 years in the most polluted areas.

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Fact Sheets

Bangladesh Fact Sheet

Bangladesh is today the world’s most polluted country. Air pollution shortens the average Bangladeshi’s life expectancy by 6.2 years, relative to what it would have been if the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline was met. Some areas of Bangladesh fare much worse than average, with air pollution shortening lives by about 7 years in the most polluted district.

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Southeast Asia Fact Sheet

Eighty-nine percent of Southeast Asia’s 650 million people live in areas where particulate pollution exceeds the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline. This pollution cuts short the life expectancy of the average person by 1.4 years, relative to what it would be if the WHO guideline was met. That’s a total of 905 million person-years lost to pollution in the 11 countries that make up this region.

Fact Sheets

Indonesia Fact Sheet

Indonesia is today the world’s ninth most polluted country. Air pollution shortens the average Indonesian’s life expectancy by 2 years, relative to what it would have been if the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline was met. Some areas of Indonesia fare much worse than average, with air pollution shortening lives by more than 7 years in the most polluted region.

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Fact Sheets

Central and West Africa Fact Sheet

In Central and West Africa , regions together comprised of 27 countries and 577 million people, the average person is exposed to particulate pollution levels that are double the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guideline1. If these particulate pollution levels persist, average life expectancy in the regions would be 1.2 years lower, and a total of 677 million person-years would be lost, relative to if air quality met the WHO standard.

Fact Sheets

United States Fact Sheet

Studying pollution in the United States tells largely a success story. Part of the United States once had levels of pollution similar to Beijing in recent years. Los Angeles had become known as the smog capital of the world. And, other large metropolitan areas weren’t far behind. Pollution had become a part of everyday life for many Americans, and citizens made clear that they wouldn’t tolerate it any longer. The Clean Air Act was enacted in 1970, and since that time particulate pollution has declined by 66 percent—extending the life expectancy of the average American by 1.6 years. Forty-four percent of those reductions have occurred over the last twenty years.

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Fact Sheets

Europe Fact Sheet

Studying pollution in Europe tells largely a success story after a series of policy reforms. Today, on average, Europeans are exposed to 41 percent less particulate pollution than they were two decades ago, gaining 9 months of life expectancy because of it. Areas that were historically more polluted have seen even greater gains. In Italy’s northern Veneto region, for instance, residents gained 2.3 years of life expectancy. In the Silesian province of southern Poland, residents gained 2 years.

Reports

2020 Annual Update

Particulate air pollution was the greatest risk to human health before COVID-19, cutting global life expectancy by two years on average over the last two decades. And, without robust public policy, it will continue to be the greatest threat long after a COVID-19 vaccine exists. Working unseen inside the human body, air pollution’s deadly effects on the heart, lungs, and other systems have a more devastating impact on life expectancy than communicable diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, behavioral killers like cigarette smoking, and even war.

Reports

South Korea Fact Sheet

South Korea ranked as the 13th most polluted country in the world in 2016, according to the Air Quality Life Index, which shows the average South Korean resident will live 1.4 years because air quality fails to meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guideline for fine particulate pollution.

Reports

North India Fact Sheet

More than 480 million people, or about 40 percent of India’s population, reside in the seven states and union territories comprising the bulk of the Indo-Gangetic Plain region of north India – Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal (Figure 1). Though the Indo-Gangetic Plain’s particulate pollution is exacerbated by geologic and meteorological factors, the AQLI’s dust- and sea salt-removed fine particulate matter (PM2.5) data imply that human activity plays a key role in generating the severe particulate pollution that these residents face. That is likely due to the fact that the region’s population density is more than three times that of the rest of the country, meaning more pollution from vehicular, residential, and agricultural sources. A denser population also means more human lives are impacted by each pollution source. Across India, reducing particulate pollution to the World Health Organization’s guideline of 10 μg/m3 would increase the national average life expectancy by 4.3 years. In north India, there would be outsize impacts of policy that reduces air pollution to meet Indian or International norms.

Reports

Thailand Fact Sheet

Thailand is today the world’s seventh most polluted country. Air pollution shortens the average Thai’s life expectancy by more than two years, relative to what it would have been if the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline for long-term fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution was met. Some areas of Thailand fare much worse than average, with air pollution shortening lives by more than four years in the most polluted regions.

Reports

India’s ‘War Against Pollution’: An Opportunity for Longer Lives”

In 2019, India declared a “war against pollution” and launched its National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), signaling its desire to reduce particulate air pollution—the greatest threat to human health on the planet. The Programme, which aims to reduce particulate pollution by 20-30 percent nationally, will be implemented over the next five years. If successful in meeting its goals and sustaining the reduced pollution levels, the NCAP would produce substantial benefits, extending the life expectancy of the average Indian by about 1.3 years. People breathing the most polluted air—namely those in Delhi and parts of Uttar Pradesh—could live up to 3 years longer. Further, the NCAP highlighted 102 cities containing about one quarter of the country’s population that fell short of India’s air standards. If all the cities permanently reduced particulate pollution by 25 percent (the midpoint of NCAP’s goal), their residents would gain 1.4 years. Though achieving the NCAP’s goals would be an important step toward reversing India’s 69 percent increase in fine particulate pollution (PM2.5) concentrations since 1998, India could achieve further gains in life expectancy for its citizens through additional pollution reductions that bring the country into compliance with its own official air quality standards or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines for PM2.5 concentrations.

Reports

Introducing the Air Quality Life Index

The Air Quality Life Index, or AQLI, represents a completely novel advancement in measuring and communicating the health risks posed by particulate matter air pollution. This is because the AQLI converts particulate air pollution into perhaps the most important metric that exists: its impact on life expectancy. The AQLI reveals that, averaged across all women, men, and children globally, particulate matter air pollution cuts global life expectancy short by nearly 2 years relative to what they would be if particulate concentrations everywhere were at the level deemed safe by the World Health Organization (WHO). This life expectancy loss makes particulate pollution more devastating than communicable diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, behavioral killers like cigarette smoking, and even war.

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