Hold on to your nerves. The air you are breathing in is cutting your lives short by as many as 5 years. The shocker is the level of PM2.5 in Odisha's air is just a few notches below the 'pollution capital' Delhi.
In the index of PM 2.5 concentration in air, the level of the particulate matter in the State's air is nearly 6-times that of the WHO standard. For which, the Odisha air has been few notches down than the industrialised and urbanised Maharashtra, Gujarat and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
In such a scenario, the impact then will be obvious. While the average life expectancy of an Odia, as per RBI data, is estimated at 68.4 years, the high air pollution in the State could simply slice the same by 5.4 years, reveals the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) of the University of Chicago released on Tuesday.
As per the AQLI, the PM 2.5 level in the State's air is measured at 65.5 microgram/m3 as against the WHO standard of 10 microgram/m3. Even, Odisha's PM2.5 level is nearly 1.5 times higher than the national standard of 40micrograms/m3.
If the AQLI is to be believed, the PM2.5 level in national capital Delhi's air is 67 microgram/m3, and due to particulate pollution, an average Delhite is losing 5.6 years of life expectancy vis-a-vis 5.4 years in Odisha. The comparison nails the enormity of air pollution in the State.
The District Plot
As per the University of Chicago's AQLI, inhabitants in the districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapada, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal, Angul and Cuttack are losing more than 6 years of their life expectancy.
Mayurbhanj has the worst particulate pollution in the State. The PM2.5 concentration in air has been measured at a high of 78.37 microgram/m3. Balasore followed it closely with a PM2.5 level at 77.92 micrograms/m3.
According to the AQLI report, all the 30 districts in the State have particulate matter levels in the air nearly 1-1.5 times that of the national benchmark and 5-7 times that of the WHO yardstick.
The Life Map
Even as all the districts in the State have higher particulate matter pollution than the national target, the loss of years to life expectancy varies across the district. When in as many as 8 districts, inhabitants' loss to life expectancy is estimated at around 2 years, the loss is put at 4-5 years in eight other districts in western Odisha.
For the districts right from the pilgrim town Puri to industrial district Sundargarh, the loss of life expectancy is measured at around 5-6 years.
The PM2.5 level in the air in State Headquarters district Khordha is measured at 64.39 microgram/m3 as against the WHO scale of 10 and national target of 40 microgram/m3.
Indian Government Report
As per the data available with Union Environment, Forests and Climate Change Ministry, 7 cities from Odisha figure in 124 cities in the country where the ambient air quality exceeded the National Ambient Air Quality (NAAQ) standard for five years on a trot. The cities are Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Balasore, Angul, Rourkela, Talcher and Kalinganagar.
Though steering, monitoring and implementation Committees have been constituted at the Central and State levels to monitor implementation of NCAP (National Clean Air Programme), and also when city-level nodal officers have been appointed from CPCB for ensuring ground implementation of NCAP in collaboration with city implementation committees, the level of particulate matter pollution in most of the cities has increased over the years, shows the AQLI data.
For instance, the PM2.5 level in Khordha air in 1998 was 45.65, a decade down the line the concentration in the air has gone up to touch 64.39 micrograms/m3.