Calculate How Many Hours Delhi’s Pollution is Taking Away From You

Health News
2 min read
Hindi Female

Enough has been said about the abysmal level of air pollution in Delhi. It’s bad enough for the government to shut schools, bad enough for them to contemplate shutting offices.

But how is this is affecting your body?

Here’s a calculator for you to know how many hours Delhi’s deadly pollution is taking away from your life.

Here’s The Quint’s coverage of the air pollution crisis in the city.


How Do You Find the PM 2.5 Level?

One of the worst pollutants is PM 2.5, small particles that get into the deepest parts of our lungs. You can find out the level by zooming into the following map and checking the air quality index (AQI) in your city and your neighbourhood.

Or you can go to IndiaSpend or AQICN.


What’s the Calculation Based On?

The calculator is based on the theory of ‘microlives’, a unit developed by Cambridge statistician David Spiegelhalter to describe a person’s cumulative risks over a lifetime. One microlife indicates 30 minutes of an average adult’s life. An average adult uses up around 48 microlives per day, but lifestyle affects how fast one expends one’s microlives.

Taking this forward, scientists David Roberts and Nick Riesland made some calculations:

“Settling in smoggy Beijing will use up roughly an additional 2-3 microlives per day, implying a reduction in life expectancy of almost three years. Living in Hong Kong or Santiago, Chile, will cost one additional microlife per day, whereas daily life in New Delhi, one of the world’s most polluted cities, costs an estimated 4-5 microlives.”

Smog covers Delhi with pollutants reaching dangerous levels. (Photo: PTI)

This Is Only an Estimated Figure

This calculation, however, is only an estimated figure as it is based on several assumptions.

Finding out how many microlives a given PM2.5 level will cost you on a given day is based on the premise that you live your whole life at that particular level.

Also, there isn’t enough data available on pollution or its exact tangible effect on the human body to conclusively calculate something. There can’t be a precise figure because there can be several other variables, which might not have been included in the calculation above.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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