Air pollution has reduced the average life expectancy of people in Bangladesh by six years and eight months per year. Currently, Bangladesh is the country with the most polluted air in the world. Air pollution has increased by 63 percent compared to 1998. However, compared to 2020 and 2021, it has decreased by 2.2 percent. Such information has emerged in a global report on air pollution published by the University of Chicago in the United States. The report has been prepared by calculating how much the average life expectancy of the inhabitants of any country in the world is decreasing due to air pollution.
According to the report, air pollution has become the biggest health problem for the people of the world. Six countries have the highest levels of air pollution in the world. Countries include Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, China, Nigeria and Indonesia. Overall, polluted air is reducing human life expectancy. Three times as many people die from smoking and five times as many people die from road accidents.
The report has highlighted the extent to which the average life expectancy of people in different countries of the world is decreasing due to air pollution. According to air quality, the life expectancy of people in different countries of the world is decreasing from one year to six years. China has shown the most success in controlling air pollution in the world in the past era. Their measures to curb pollution have improved the country’s air quality by 42 percent.
According to the report, 164.8 million people in Bangladesh live in polluted air year-round, which is more than 5 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter of air, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, the air condition of each region of the country is different. Air quality in villages is better than in big cities. Air pollution in Sylhet, the cleanest city in Bangladesh, is 10 times the international standard. The city with the most polluted air is Gazipur. The life expectancy of people in Gazipur, the closest industrial area to the capital Dhaka, has decreased by eight years and three months. And in Bangladesh, the average life expectancy has decreased by six years and eight months.
7 crore 47 lakh people live in big cities including Dhaka, Chittagong. The average life expectancy of the residents of these cities is decreasing by seven years and six months. However, improving air quality following World Health Organization guidelines can increase life expectancy. By improving the air quality in Dhaka, the average life expectancy can be increased by eight years and one month and the average life expectancy of the whole country can be increased by five years and eight months with six years and nine months in Chittagong.
The report recommends that Bangladesh emphasize the provision of reliable and timely data on air quality. At the same time, emphasis has been placed on ensuring that citizens can use this information properly to protect themselves from polluted air. Noting that the air quality information in Bangladesh is not fully disclosed, it is said that the related information should be fully disclosed and timely, so that it can be used by the common citizens.
In the report, University of Chicago Energy Policy Institute professor Mikhein Greenstone said that the world’s media give more importance to political news. But if public health is concerned, air pollution news should be published daily. Because, many countries have not developed basic infrastructure to control air pollution. In this case, African and Asian countries emit 92.7 percent of the world’s total polluted air. 6.8% of countries in Asia and 3.7% in Africa provide timely and reliable air quality information to their citizens.
At the same time, 35.6 percent of Asia and 4.9 percent of Africa have their own air quality standards. At the same time there is no global fund to control air quality. But there are global funds for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. From these funds, 4 billion dollars are provided annually to different countries of the world. Of this, the entire African continent received only three million dollars a year for air pollution control. The provision of that money is mainly coming from various voluntary organizations. That amount is equal to the annual spending of a US household. And 14 million dollars are going to Asian countries. And China, India, Europe, United States, Canada are taking 34 million dollars from the Clean Air Fund.
Christina Hasenkorf, director of the Air Quality Live Index program at the University of Chicago, said that if the air is to be clean and free of pollution, civil society and government agencies must increase the supply of reliable data. For this we need to build adequate infrastructure.
Among African countries, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and South American Guatemala, Bolivia and Peru have the worst air quality. However, the United States has improved air quality through several initiatives. The country has improved air quality by 65 percent since 1970. However, US citizens live a year and four months longer than the global average. This is because the country has passed the Clean Air Act. The state has developed the institutional infrastructure for the implementation of that law.
European countries are in the best condition in terms of air quality. Residents here are living in 23.5 percent better air quality than in 1998. Most countries here have developed Air Quality Framework Directives. Maximum efforts have been taken at the state level in the implementation of that law. But still 98.4 percent of people there live in air that is worse than the WHO standards. But they plan to reach that level of air quality by 2030.
China’s success in controlling air pollution: Taking the example of China, the report said, the country has declared war on air pollution. In this regard, they have achieved significant success. They have reduced air pollution by 42.3 percent compared to 2013. This increased the average life expectancy of their citizens by two years and two months. However, China’s air quality is still six times higher than WHO’s air quality. At the same time, their average life expectancy is decreasing by two and a half years. Overall, 99.9 percent of South Asia’s air quality is substandard or polluted.