We can’t always see the consequences of air pollution around us, but it’s costing us years off our lives. According to a new Air Quality Life Index report from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), air pollution is taking 2.2 years off the average global life expectancy. In some of the most polluted regions in the world, residents are expected to lose an average five years of their lives, if the current high levels of pollution persist.

While smog seem like a difficult problem to tackle, some countries have proven it’s possible to clean up the air. In the past seven years, China has reduced air pollution as much as the United States has in the past three decades. And since India’s Gujarat state launched the world’s first clean air market in 2019, participating industries have been able to cut particulate pollution by about 20 percent.

In this episode, we speak with EPIC’s Air Quality Programs Director Christa Hasenkopf and EPIC’s South Asia Director Anant Sudarshan about why we need to treat air pollution as a global health threat—and what we can do about it.

Via Big Brains

Areas of Focus: Environment
Definition
Environment
Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. EPIC research is quantifying the social costs of energy choices and uncovering policies that help protect health while facilitating growth.
Air Pollution
Definition
Air Pollution
Air pollution from fossil fuel combustion poses a grave threat to human health worldwide. EPIC research is using real-world data to calculate the effects of air pollution on human health...
AQLI
Definition
AQLI
Particulate air pollution is one of the most serious risks to human health globally. To help communicate those risks, the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) converts particulate air pollution into...