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Air Pollution in Pakistan Has Reduced People’s Lifespan by Several Years: Report

Air pollution has reduced the life expectancy of an average Pakistani resident by 3.9 years, with air pollution decreasing the life expectancy in the country’s most polluted cities by almost 7 years.

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According to the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) 2021 annual report, an average Pakistani resident could live 4.2 years longer, with those in Karachi and Lahore, the country’s two largest cities, living 5.2 and 5 years longer respectively if air pollution is reduced in line with the WHO guidelines.

The AQLI 2021 annual report has highlighted some of the biggest causes behind the poor air quality of Pakistan.

It states that the number of vehicles on the roads of Pakistan has increased about fourfold since the early 2000s. The country’s electricity generation from fossil fuels has tripled from 1998 to 2017. Increased crop burning, brick kilns, and other industrial activities over the years have also contributed to deteriorating the country’s air quality.

The report has also pointed out that the incumbent government has taken several initiatives to reduce air pollution in line with the WHO guidelines.

It states that the government has started installing more pollution monitors and shutting down factories in highly polluted districts during the winter season when energy demand for heating is high. It has been urging brick kiln owners to shift to cleaner technologies as well.

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Most Polluted Region

The AQLI 2021 annual report has once again declared South Asia as the most polluted region.

India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal consistently rank among the top 5 most polluted countries in the world. These four countries are home to almost a quarter of the global population. 89% population of these countries is living in areas with air pollution levels way above the guidelines of the WHO.

Air pollution has reduced the combined life expectancy of residents of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal by 6 years.

Due to the region’s high population and pollution concentrations, South Asia also accounts for almost 60% of the total life years lost globally due to poor air quality.

An average person in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan could live 5.6 years longer if air pollution is reduced in line with the WHO guidelines.

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