The Mexicans could extend their life expectancy by a year and a half if adequate measures are applied to reduce air pollutionaccording to estimates made by the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute (EPIC).
Is that chronic air pollution reduces life expectancy global average by more than two years per person, according to the study released Tuesday.
The impact of smog is comparable to that of smoking and much worse than HIV AIDS or terrorism, according to EPIC estimates.
To determine health effects, the researchers used satellite data to measure levels of PM2.5as the dangerous substances in floating particles that damage the lungs are called.
If global levels of PM2.5 were reduced to the five micrograms per cubic meter recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), the average life expectancy would increase by an average of 2.2 years.
“Now that our understanding of the pollution impact has improved, there is a stronger case for governments to prioritize it as an urgent policy issue,” said Christa Hasenkopf, director of EPIC’s Air and Life Quality Index.
“Air pollution has been neglected as a public health problem, and funding to address the problem is still inadequate,” the study warned.
Smog in Mexico and Latin America
The Air Quality and Life Index highlights that the vast majority of Latin Americans breathe polluted air, with critical points that register contamination levels eight times higher than those recommended by the WHO.
The pollutant emissions from vehicles they are the main responsible for poor air quality in the main metropolises of Latin America. Long trips are indicative of high levels of traffic congestion and higher levels of individual exposure to pollution, as commuters end up spending more time outdoors and on the roads.
The study mentions that throughout the region, movement restrictions have been a popular political prescription, citing as an example the program of Today does not circulate implemented in Mexico City in 1989.
However, metropolitan areas are not the only ones affected by poor air quality, as some rural areas in the region can experience high levels of pollutants due to forest fires, mercury pollution and deforestation.
With information from Reuters