The life expectancy of a Chinese citizen has gone up by half a year due to a significant drop in the air pollution level in the country, a study has claimed. Air pollution kills over a million in China where the average life expectancy is 76.4 years.
A study by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago says that the life expectancy of Chinese citizens has been extended by half a year due to a significant drop in the PM 2.5 density. The Air Quality Index indicates that China's PM 2.5 density fell by 12 per cent between 2013 and 2016, a pollution reduction equivalent to an additional half-a-year to the average lifespan.
"Tianjin, one of the three most polluted Chinese cities in 2013, saw a decline of 14 per cent PM 2.5 density in 2016. If this improvement is maintained, 13 million citizens living in the city are expected to see their average lifespan increase by 1.2 years," the study said.
In China's central province Henan, statistics showed that the length of time people are exposed to PM 2.5 in the region is down 20 per cent compared with 2013, meaning they could live an average of 1.3 years longer. China is infamous for air pollution which is an offshoot of four decades of furious industrialization in the country. However, the government has taken measures to curb pollution over the years after huge public outcry.
Green activists, often critical of China, have acknowledged Beijing's efforts. China is the world's largest coal producer and burns half of it itself, causing severe air pollution. But over the years, China has shut many coal-fired power plants and shifted to natural gas heating. This leaves many homes outside Beijing and other provinces extremely cold in winter but reduces smog. Until 2009, 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities were in China. This year, the first 14, including New Delhi, are in India, and only the last four -- minus Beijing -- are in China.
(With inputs from agencies.)