It is here. The kind of news that makes you consider your actions and everyone’s around you. We all are aware of the intensity of air pollution that has been masking Delhi, which heightens during winter time, enveloping fog all around. That’s all over the news year after year. It has all reached to a peculiar level now and it winter is not even here yet!
People living in the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) region are expected to lose 7 years of their life because of severe air pollution. Also, as a result of pollution levels of Delhi reaching the ‘severe plus’ category, all construction activities and schools have been shut down by a Supreme Court mandated panel on Friday until November 5, as a part of public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR region.
Delhi-NCR Enters ‘Severe Plus’ Category!
The air pollution levels in Delhi is just getting worse. This came as pollution levels plummeted to severe-plus levels from Thursday night. The Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, SAFAR recorded a severe-plus reading of 533 for PM 2.5 pollutants (fine, respirable pollution particles).
To give you a context, an Air Quality Index (AQI) between 0-50 is considered ‘good’, 51-100 ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’, ‘401-500 is ‘severe’ and after 500 is the ‘severe-plus emergency’ category. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the API at 1pm on Friday was recorded at 480, ‘severe category’.
The board measures a 24-hour average. At the severe category, air quality worsens terribly and affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases. As a result of this, the Environment Pollution Authority (EPCA) chairperson, Bhure Lal banned construction activities only for the period between 6 pm and 10 am till November 2. Now, no construction can take place even in daytime.
EPCA directed that all coal and other fuel-based industries, which have not shifted to natural gas or agro-residue, will remain shut in Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Noida, Bahadurgarh, Bhiwadi, Greater Noida, Sonepat, Panipat till the morning of November 5.
Life Expectancy of People in IGP Region Reduces by 7 Years
Air pollution will surely have affect on life expectancy. We will all be stupid enough to not understand this. It has been found out in a new analysis on Thursday that the people living in the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) region are expected to lose 7 years of their life because of severe air pollution.
The IGP region constitutes of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Since these regions are exposed to far higher levels of air pollution, people there will have shorter lives.
The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago produced the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) that shows that there has been a 72% increase in pollution from 1998 to 2016 in the IGP region.
In 1998, citizens living outside of the IGP region lost 1.2 years of life relative to what it would have been if air quality met the WHO guidelines. In 2016, citizens in non-IGP states lost about 2.6 years of life compared to 7 years in IGP region.
NCAP has a target of 20% to 30% reduction in PM 2.5 concentration in 102 non-attainment cities by 2024. The AQLI estimates the relationship between air pollution and life expectancy based on findings from a research study in China.