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A new study on pollution shows that the atmosphere in Vietnam is cutting 1.16 years off its citizen’s life expectancy.

The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) in the US was behind the extensive research, which examines the relationship between exposure to air pollution and life expectancy in 86 countries, reports VnExpress.

EPIC’s study, the first of its kind, found that – unsurprisingly – there’s a significant connection between the two: the more polluted a nation’s atmosphere is, the shorter is the average life span of its citizens. However, while the final conclusion is rather obvious, for the first time we are informed of exactly how unhealthy is the effect of pollution on human well-being.

Researchers at EPIC measured air pollution by the concentration of PM2.5, an air pollutant with the diameter of 2.5 micrometer and under, in the local atmosphere. Long-term exposure to high concentration of PM2.5 can lead to respiratory issues and even death in vulnerable individuals.

Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) deems 10 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air an acceptable standard of pollution. Study results by EPIC found that, for each 10 micrograms more than this level, life expectancy is reduced by 1.03 years.

According to study, the annual mean of PM2.5 levels in Vietnam was 20.9 micrograms per cubic meter, more than double WHO’s standard. This means that on average, Vietnamese lifespan is cut short 1.16 years due to air pollution.

Image via VnExpress.

The institute also shared that the situation is much worse in northern and central Vietnam than in the south. Still, Vietnam’s air pollution is not as severe as that in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, China and India: on average, Chinese and Indians see their life shortened by three and four years, respectively.

Last October, according to a global air quality index, Hanoi’s atmosphere was the second-most polluted in the world at 245, indicating “very unhealthy” levels of smog.

[Photo via VnExpress]


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