High quality air is essential for longevity! Why? Air pollution is shaving months — and in some cases more than a year — off your life expectancy, depending on where you live. Exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM) is a major risk for premature death. In 2016, air pollution exposure reduced average global life expectancy at birth by ∼1 year. In polluted countries of Asia these numbers go up to ∼1.2–1.9 years. For comparison: Other major global risk factors for reduced life expectancy include dietary risks (2.7 years), tobacco smoking (1.8 years), unsafe water and sanitation (0.57 year), and unsafe sex (0.37 year).
The five Global Burden of Disease causes of death for which air pollution is a risk factor are ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (stroke), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and lower respiratory infections. You can see now why air is essential to your health.
If air pollution concentrations worldwide were limited to the WHO air quality guideline, global life expectancy would be on average 0.59 year longer. The benefit of reaching this stringent target would be especially large in countries with the highest current levels of pollution such as Egypt, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, and Nigeria.