The Air Quality-Life Index (AQLI)
Source: Air Quality Life Index, aqli.epic.uchicago.edu
It’s a chart. It’s a dynamic tool. It’s a new way to measure the impact of the deadliest threat to human health: particulate pollution. For these reasons and more, the Air Quality Life Index landed at the top of our list for the second straight year. Last year, we introduced a beta version. This year, we were proud to introduce the full Index, an interactive tool that allows users anywhere in the world to explore pollution where they live, map changes over time, and—most importantly—see its effect on their life expectancy. Because the AQLI presents data at a hyper-local level—the county level in the United States—this information can help to inform communities and policymakers about the importance of air pollution policies in very concrete terms.
The Index reveals just how deadly particulate pollution is—cutting global average life expectancy by nearly two years, with some of the most polluted regions of the world fairing much worse. India, for example, is one of the countries with the heaviest pollution. Particulate pollution is cutting the average Indian resident’s life expectancy by more than 4 years, up from 2 years just two decades ago as particulate pollution increased 69 percent in India. In fact, the impact of particulate pollution on life expectancy globally is greater than cigarette smoking, twice that of alcohol and drug use, three times that of unsafe water, five times that of HIV/AIDS, and 29 times that of conflict and terrorism.