India pollution cutting 660 million lives short by 3 years: study

Indian commuters wait for a bus early on a polluted morning in New Delhi on January 31, 2013. PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

NEW DELHI – New research estimates India’s air pollution is cutting 660 million lives short by three years on average.

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The study published Saturday in the Economic & Political Weekly highlights the extensiveness of India’s air problems after years of pursuing an all-growth agenda with little regard for the environment. Thirteen Indian cities are now included on the World Health Organization’s list of the world’s 20 most polluted.

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That pollution burden nationwide is estimated to be costing more than half the population at least 3.2 years of their lives.

The study’s authors acknowledge their estimations may be too conservative, as they are based in part on satellite data that tend to underestimate levels of fine particulate matter known as PM2.5. India has a sparse system for monitoring air quality.


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