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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Stats Gate - Countries with Potential for Highest Life Expectancy Increase through Effective Pollution Management

Stats Gate

Countries with Potential for Highest Life Expectancy Increase through Effective Pollution Management

Air pollution transcends being a mere irritant for the eyes, nose, and throat; it can significantly truncate the lifespan of individuals subjected to prolonged exposure.

Defined by the World Health Organization as any chemical, physical, or biological agent altering the inherent qualities of outdoor or indoor atmospheres, air pollution emanates primarily from household combustion devices, industrial emissions, and vehicular exhaust.

The ensuing release of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide precipitates respiratory ailments and other diseases, escalating both illness rates and mortality.

Vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with preexisting heart and lung conditions, bear a disproportionate burden.

While developed nations contend with sporadic bouts of poor air quality, especially in urban hubs, the brunt of this challenge is borne by developing countries.

Inhabitants of these nations face the prospect of losing substantial years of their lives merely by inhaling the ambient air, particularly in the most polluted locales.

To identify the countries witnessing the greatest life expectancy gains through reduced air pollution, we have scrutinized the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute Air Quality Life Index 2023 Annual Update.

The focus was on 20 countries where adhering to World Health Organization guidelines—maintaining PM2.5 air pollution at 5 micrograms per cubic meter of air—would yield a minimum two-year increase in average life expectancy from 2021 levels.

PM2.5 refers to particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, often emitted by vehicles. These minute particles, dwarfing the size of pollen and measuring just 1/30th the diameter of a human hair, can penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream.

According to the report, India and Bangladesh would accrue the most significant benefits from reducing PM2.5 pollution, with potential gains of 5.3 and 6.8 years to their populations’ life expectancy, respectively.

Among the 20 countries experiencing the most substantial life expectancy reductions due to air pollution, a majority are located in Africa or Asia, encompassing the world’s two most populous nations—China and India—where approximately 35% of the global population resides.

Six of these 20 countries rank among the top 20 most populated globally, yet the list also encompasses smaller nations like Bhutan, El Salvador, and Rwanda.

Presented below are the nations where air pollution exacts the heaviest toll on life expectancy:

 

  1. Bangladesh
  • Projected life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 6.8 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 74 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 1st worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 171,186,372
  1. India
  • Projected life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 5.3 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 58.7 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 2nd worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 1,417,173,173
  1. Nepal
  • Projected life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 4.6 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 51.7 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 3rd worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 30,547,580
  1. Pakistan
  • Projected life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 3.9 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 44.7 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 4th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 235,824,862
  1. Mongolia
  • Projected life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 3 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 36 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 5th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 3,398,366
  1. Myanmar
  • Projected life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2.9 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 35 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 6th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 54,179,306
  1. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Projected life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2.9 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 34.6 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 7th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 99,010,212
  1. Republic of the Congo
  • Projected life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2.7 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 32.4 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 8th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 5,970,424
  1. Rwanda
  • Projected life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2.7 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 32.4 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 8th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 13,776,698
  1. Burundi
  • Anticipated life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2.6 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 31.9 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 10th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 12,889,576
  1. Cameroon
  • Anticipated life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2.5 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 31 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 11th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 27,914,536
  1. Bhutan
  • Anticipated life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2.5 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 30.6 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 12th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 782,455
  1. China
  • Anticipated life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2.5 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 30.2 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 13th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 1,412,175,000
  1. Qatar
  • Anticipated life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2.5 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 30 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 14th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 2,695,122
  1. Equatorial Guinea
  • Anticipated life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2.4 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 29.1 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 15th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 1,674,908
  1. Guatemala
  • Anticipated life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2.4 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 29 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 16th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 17,357,886
  1. Laos
  • Anticipated life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2.2 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 27.2 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 17th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 7,529,475
  1. Uganda
  • Anticipated life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2.1 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 26.7 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 18th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 47,249,585
  1. El Salvador
  • Anticipated life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 25.8 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 19th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 6,336,392
  1. Vietnam
  • Anticipated life expectancy gain from pollution reduction to WHO guidelines: 2 years
  • Average PM2.5 air pollution: 25.8 micrograms per cubic meter (Ranked 19th worst globally)
  • Population in 2022: 98,186,856

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Stats Gate - Countries with Potential for Highest Life Expectancy Increase through Effective Pollution Management
Deepankar Shyam
Global Breaking News Editor at the CEOWORLD magazine, helping lead the direction of the bureau. I'm a veteran digital storyteller with a record of creating best-in-class content and commerce experiences. I work with our reporters and columnists to develop story ideas, edit their work and coordinate with various other bureaus on coverage. I also have broad industry experience managing and leading change while consistently exceeding readership goals and company expectations.