Rising air pollution can cut life expectancy by more than five years per person in South Asia, one of the world’s most polluted regions, according to a report which flagged the growing burden of hazardous air on health.

The region, which includes the world’s most polluted countries of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, accounts for more than half of the total life years lost globally to pollution, the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute (EPIC) said in its latest Air Quality Life Index published on Tuesday.

Rapid industrialization and population growth have contributed to declining air quality in South Asia, where particulate pollution levels are currently more than 50 percent higher than at the start of the century and now overshadow dangers posed by larger health threats.