Air Pollution

54,000 lives lost in Delhi due to air pollution


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Willingness to pay mechanism

Mains level : Air pollution in Delhi

Air pollution claimed approximately 54,000 lives in Delhi in 2020, according to a Greenpeace Southeast Asia analysis of the cost to the economy due to air pollution.

Try this question from CS Mains 2015:

Q.Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are the three megacities of the country but the air pollution is a much more serious problem in Delhi as compared to the other two. Why is this so?

Deaths due to Air Pollution

  • Globally, approximately 1,60,000 deaths have been attributed to PM 2.5 air pollution in the five most populous cities — Delhi, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo.
  • Six Indian cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Lucknow — feature in the global analysis.
  • An estimated 25,000 avoidable deaths in Mumbai in 2020 have been attributed to air pollution.
  • Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad estimated an approximate 12,000, 11,000, and 11,000 avoidable deaths respectively due to polluted air.

The ‘Cost Estimator’

  • The ‘Cost Estimator’, an online tool that estimates the real-time health impact and economic cost from fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) air pollution in major world cities.
  • It was deployed in collaboration between Greenpeace Southeast Asia, IQAir and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).
  • Using real-time ground-level PM 2.5 measurements collated in IQAir’s database, the algorithm applies scientific risk models in combination with population and public health data.

Computing the “Lost Years”

  • To show the impact of air pollution-related deaths on the economy, the approach used by Greenpeace is called ‘willingness-to-pay.
  • It refers to a lost life year or a year lived with a disability is converted to money by the amount that people are willing to pay in order to avoid this negative outcome.
  • The cost estimator also sustained the estimated air pollution-related economic losses of ₹1,23,65,15,40,000.

Greenpeace recommends-

  • Despite a temporary reprieve in air quality owing to the lockdown, the latest figures from the report underscore the need to act immediately.
  • The need of the hour is to rapidly scale up renewable energy, bring an end to fossil fuel emissions and boost sustainable and accessible transport systems.
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