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Air pollution: About 81,000 premature deaths in Delhi, Mumbai in 2015; Rs 70,000 crore loss to economy

Delhi, which has been witnessing a levels of air pollution, recorded more premature deaths due to ingestion of PM 10.

Air pollution: About 81,000 premature deaths in Delhi, Mumbai in 2015; Rs 70,000 crore loss to economy

New Delhi: A new study has revealed that a total of 80,665 premature deaths of adults over 30 years occured due to air pollution in Mumbai and Delhi in 2015.

The study carried out by the researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-Bombay) finds a sharp rise in the number of deaths, a two-fold jump from 1995, says a report from TOI.

For the study, researchers evaluated impact using data on PM 10 (fine particulate matter measuring 10 microns), population and death rates.

Delhi, which has been witnessing a high levels of air pollution, recorded more premature deaths due to ingestion of PM 10 when compared to Mumbai. In 2015, casualties went up from 19,716 in 1995 to 48,651in Delhi. Whereas the figure rose from 19,291 to 32,014 in 20 years in Mumbai.

Air pollution also cost the two cities $10.66 billion (approximately Rs 70,000 crore) in 2015, or about 0.71% of the country's gross domestic product, the report adds.

The study found that the impact of air pollution on health and productivity contributed to a rise in respiratory ailments with every passing decade.

Air pollution was also found to be responsible for 23 million cases of restricted activity days (RAD) in the commercial capital in 2015.As per the National Health Interview Survey, a restricted activity day is a day in which an individual spends over half of the day in bed, home from work or.

In 2015, a total of 64,037 people stricken with respiratory ailments visited emergency room - a 35.4% increase from 1995. Delhi, on the other hand witnessed 29 million cases of RAD and 0.12 million emergency room visits in 2015.

According to Kamal Jyoti Maji, the lead author of the study, the impact of air pollution on health and productivity was evident in that the increase in cases and cost after 2005 was in line with the overall trend in pollution, notes the report.

The IIT study also found that the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) measure for illnesses caused by air pollution doubled in Delhi between 1995 and 2015 - from 0.34 million to 0.75 million DALY, whereas in Mumbai, the number increased from 0.34 million to 0.51million DALYs in the corresponding period.

The study noted the need to take steps to reduce PM10 levels in the two cities - 44% in Mumbai and 67% in Delhi – to maintain to current health outcomes in 2030.

Since the findings are based only at the impact of PM10 and to a lesser extent PM2.5, researchers, however, maintained that that these estimates may be an undercount of actual costs, mortality and morbidity.

The study has published recently in the Environmental Science and Pollution Research Journal.