Air pollution cuts 1.16 years off life expectancy in Vietnam: study

By Ha Phuong   September 21, 2017 | 02:54 am PT
Air quality in northern and central Vietnam is much worse than in the south, the study notes.

A new study has found that if the air was less polluted in Vietnam, its citizens would live on average 1.16 years longer.

The study, conducted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, is the first to concentrate on tracking people’s lifetime exposure to air pollution. 

After examining pollution data from 86 countries, scientists found that there is a strong link between reduced life expectancy and air pollution, as measured by PM2.5, a form of particulate matter that can lodge deep in the lungs and cause respiratory diseases. 

For each 10 micrograms per cubic meter PM2.5 levels exceed World Health Organization standards, life expectancy is cut short by 1.03 years, the study concluded.

Scientist identified that air pollution can cut a Vietnamese person’s lifespan by 1.16 years on average. The air quality in northern and central Vietnam is much worse than in the south, they added.

The annual mean PM2.5 levels observed in Vietnam stood at 20.9 micrograms per cubic meter, double the WHO’s guidelines. However, air quality in Vietnam is slightly better than in regional peers Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.

The scenario for Asia is bleaker than in any other part of the world. In China, air pollution is shortening the Chinese lifespan by more than three years, while in India, it curtails a person’s lifespan by four years on average.

In February, a global environment study measured Vietnam’s air pollution as the second deadliest in Southeast Asia after Indonesia in terms of the raw number of premature deaths.

Deaths attributable to dangerous air particles in Vietnam jumped 60 percent from 26,300 in 1990 to 42,200 in 2015, according to the study by the Health Effects Institute, a Boston research institute focused on the health impacts of air pollution, and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle.

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