A view of Delhi Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier Flickr/CC license

How Air Pollution, Children’s Health and GDP Correlate

Where does this air pollution come from?

Setting fires to clear land for planting crops, or crop burning, is a common practice in many places around India. And as you can imagine, this kind of burning emits terrible air pollution.

My guest today, Prachi Singh, has uncovered a link between that kind of air pollution and the height of children who are born to mothers who were impacted by that air pollution while pregnant.

Prachi Singh is an associate fellow at the Brookings Institution, India Center and a PhD candidate at Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi. Her research analyzed height and weight ratios of children who were exposed, in utero, to air pollution events like crop burning and forest fires.

She finds a significant correlation between low weight and low height ratios and exposure to this pollution. But her research goes further than that. She demonstrates how low height and weight ratios stemming from this exposure impacts India’s entire economy, including taking a significant toll on India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The peer reviewed research is cutting edge and has broad global implications.

We kick off discussing the impact of what is known as stunting on children’s health before having a conversation about her research.methods and the significance of her findings.

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