Study: Air pollution reduces life expectancy to 7 years in Bangladesh


Particulate pollution has reduced global life expectancy by an average of two years over the past two decades

One study says air pollution, especially the presence of particles in the air, reduces the life expectancy of Bangladeshis by an average of seven years.

Anant Sudarshan, director of the University of Chicago’s Institute for Energy Policy in South Asia, presented the study’s findings at a webinar on Tuesday.

According to the study, the most polluted areas in the country are the Dhaka and Khulna divisions, where average residents are exposed to pollution which is eight times more than World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

With the latest developments, Bangladesh is currently the most polluted of the 234 countries in the world. All areas of Bangladesh have exceeded the level of pollution, according to WHO guidelines and national standards of the country.

In two decades (1998-2018), rising air pollution had reduced the lives of the average Bangladeshi population to 3.4 years. In 1998, life expectancy was reduced by 2.8 years due to air pollution, while it stood at 6.2 years in 2018.

Meanwhile, pollution in South Asia is also rising. People living in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan could see their lives cut by an average of five years, after being exposed to pollution levels that are now 44% higher. to those of two decades ago.

Only a quarter of the world’s population lives in these four countries. However, they account for up to 60% of the years lost to pollution in total.

In addition, particulate pollution has reduced global life expectancy by an average of 2 years in the last two decades, as the improvement in some countries was offset by worsening conditions in other countries.

According to the study, 5.9 billion people in the world currently live in areas that exceed WHO safety guidelines for small particle pollution.

25% of particulate pollution (PM) comes from vehicles, 20% from firewood and coal, 15% from power plants and industry, 22% from other human activities and 18% from sources natural all over the world.

The deadly effects of particulate pollution on the heart, lungs, and other systems have a more devastating impact on life expectancy than communicative diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS or behavioral complications such as smoking.

By comparison, particulate pollution reduces average life expectancy by 1.9 years, while smoking reduces life expectancy by 1.8 years, alcohol and drug use by 11 months, water unsafe, sanitation and hand washing in 6 months, road injuries in 5 months, AIDS for 4 months and malaria for 3 months.

Dr Poornima Prabhakaran, Deputy Director of the Environmental Health Center of the Public Health Foundation of India, and Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and Chief Executive of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), were present at the seminar as speakers.

Syeda Rizwana Hasan said: “Our political leaders should act immediately. All citizens should demand clean air to breathe. Priorities in development projects are undermining environmental conservation here. All related ministries, including those of health and environment, must work in a coordinated manner. Coordination is also needed for transboundary pollution. ”

“Five years ago there was only a coal-fired power plant. We will now have 29 power plants. Most are funded by China. We are not seeing the cost of development, ”he said.

“There are 7,000 brick fields in the country. These brick fields cause enormous damage to the environment. Brick field owners maintain connections with local politicians to ensure their financial interest. Therefore, a strong political commitment is needed to find a solution, “said Syeda Rizwana Hasan.

Poornima Prabhakaran highlighted the accessibility and availability of data related to air pollution to adopt an environmentally friendly development policy. “Air pollution affects reproductive health, which will be responsible for an unhealthy future generation.”