High pollution levels in Delhi may have cost Obama 6 hours of his life

India geared up and how for US President Barack Obama's arrival in New Delhi with no-fly zones and seven tier security rings. The city turned into a fortress with office buildings around Rajpath being shut because he would attend the Republic Day Parade.

All this was done to protect the world's most powerful man from life threatening attacks, but if this Bloomberg report is anything to go by, Obama may have lost 6 hours from his life expectancy. That too because of the abysmal pollution levels in the national capital.

 High pollution levels in Delhi may have cost Obama 6 hours of his life

Barack Obama. Reuters

The report says, "During Obama’s three-day visit, PM2.5 levels in Delhi have averaged between 76 to 84 micrograms per cubic meter, according to data collected by India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences."

Right before Obama landed in the city, Greenpeace India, citing the findings of its real-time check on the pollution levels in the capital, too had warned that Obama was likely to breathe "unhealthy and hazardous" air during his stay in Delhi.

Ahead of Obama's three-day state visit the NGO set out with an air-monitoring device called PDR 1500, to track pollution levels in six locations the president was expected to pass through.

This device recorded particulate matter 2.5 levels at various locations, including Raj Ghat and Hyderabad House, that revealed unhealthy and hazardous quality of air, said a Greenpeace release.

Meanwhile Bloomberg quoted David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge, as saying that the PM2.5 levels recorded during Obama's visit could translate roughly into an estimated loss of 2 hours a day in life expectancy.

In December 2014 environment experts had demanded immediate pollution control action after researchers at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) monitored people's level of exposure to pollution in the city and found the results to be posing a "serious risk to public health".

Delhiites are "not safe" from polluted air even at home and workplaces, they had said.

With IANS inputs

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Updated Date: Jan 28, 2015 16:57:01 IST