Pollution cuts life expectancy by 5.5 years in China

Pollution cuts life expectancy by 5.5 years in China.

A groundbreaking study has found that air pollution in China has cut life expectancy by an average of 5.5 years in the north of the country and caused higher rates of lung cancer, heart attacks and strokes.

The toxic smog in northern China has become a crucial issue of national concern after air pollution spiked to record levels in Beijing in January, prompting citizens to stock up on air filters and face masks.

The new study, co-authored by professors, calculates that air pollution in the north of China caused the loss of 2.5 billion years of aggregate human life expectancy during the 1990s.

Economics professor Li Hongbin said that, “This is the first time anyone has got the data to show how severe long-term pollution affects human health, both in terms of life expectancy and the types of disease”.

“It shows how high the cost of pollution is in terms of human life – and that it is worth it for the government to spend more money to solve the pollution issue, even if we have to sacrifice growth”.

Notably, Li estimates that the shorter life expectancy identified by the study in northern China is equivalent to reducing the workforce there by one-eighth.

The pollution crisis comes as a by-product of breakneck economic development during the past three decades, which has been accompanied by the widespread degradation of air, soil and water.

Environmental worries are now a growing source of social unrest and public protest, particularly because of health concerns.

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