Three-quarters of air pollution’s impact on global life expectancy occurs in just six countries, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, China, Nigeria and Indonesia, where people lose one to more than six years off their lives because of the air they breathe. India is the world’s second most polluted country and Delhi is the most polluted city in the world. These findings were disclosed by the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) report for 2023 by the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute.
According to new data from the AQLI, as global pollution edged upward in 2021, so did its burden on human health. If the world were to permanently reduce fine particulate pollution (PM2.5) to meet the World Health Organization’s guideline, the average person would add 2.3 years onto their life expectancy—or a combined 17.8 billion life-years saved worldwide, the report said on Tuesday (August 29, 2023). ‘This data makes clear that particulate pollution remains the world’s greatest external risk to human health, with the impact on life expectancy comparable to that of smoking, more than 3 times that of alcohol use and unsafe water, and more than 5 times that of transport injuries like car crashes. Yet, the pollution challenge worldwide is vastly unequal,’ reveals AQLI, a pollution index that translates particulate air pollution into perhaps the most important metric that exists: its impact on life expectancy.
Back here in Nagaland, Scientist at Nagaland Pollution Control Board (NPCB) has been highlighting serious concern on the fact that the air quality of Kohima and Dimapur city has been placed under non-attainment cities with respect to particulate matter (PM10). Creating awareness on National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) for the two non-attainment cities, the Board has been presented graphical representation of the status of concentrations in the cities of Kohima and Dimapur, where it was seen that the concentration levels in Kohima has reduced to a great extent owing to better roads in the city. However, it was the concern of the board that the concentration levels have only increased more than 50% in the year 2021-22 in Dimapur. The annual average concentration of Respiratory Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) which the Government has set is 60, where below 60 shows the air quality is good. For Dimapur city, the Consecutive years from 2019-2022 have shown 79, 78, 99, and 97 which is increasing, while RSPM for Kohima from 2019-2022 has shown 91, 89, 77, and 72 which shows an improvement. The Board has identified dust caused by the deplorable road conditions in the two districts as the main cause of pollution.
In a recent report, the Administrator of Dimapur Municipal Council admitted that most of the roads in the city were filled with potholes and has irregular surfaces, and at present Dimapur air pollution was also beyond the permissible limit and thus, as the council would be taking up once the weather conditions improve. Dimapur Police launched the Improvised Traffic Control System (ITCS) at Holy Cross Traffic Point and Nagarjan Traffic Point under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). There has been other initiatives to create awareness on clean air city action plans and its micro planning - needs, objectives, development, implementation and outcomes through the activities under NCAP. On the policy level and administration level, despite gaps in the functions, there have been visible efforts and initiatives to create awareness and find solution to air pollution. However, it seems insignificant without the citizens taking any stand or action to contribute to prevent, control and reduce it. Clean air is a public necessity and therefore, it would require better collaborative efforts to address the issue.
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