- A study said PM 2.5 Air Pollution caused 50,000 deaths in Delhi
- The same reports also said, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Lucknow estimated 12000, 11000, 11000, and 6700 avoidable deaths respectively owing to the air pollution.
According to a study, the air pollution caused by hazardous PM 2.5 fine particulate matter in the air led to the death of 54,000 people in the National Capital, Delhi, last year where the pollution levels remained almost six times above the prescribed limits from the Worth health Organisation (WHO).
As per the analysis of the IQAir data, the Greenpeace Southeast Asia said, 1800 deaths per million were estimated due to PM 2.5 air pollution in Delhi.
The study said, “The PM2.5 air pollution claimed approximately 54,000 lives in India’s national capital in 2020”.
The study also said, the PM 2.5 refers to the fine particulate matter in the air which are smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter. Exposure to the PM2.5 is considered as one of the most important environmental risk factors for deaths globally, and was even attributed to 4.2 million (42 lakh) premature deaths in 2015.
The study noted that the damage is equally worrying in other Indian cities.
The study said, “An estimated 25,000 avoidable deaths in Mumbai in 2020 have been attributed to air pollution. Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Lucknow estimated an approximate 12,000, 11,000, 11,000, and 6,700 avoidable deaths respectively due to polluted air”.
The study noted that in Delhi, the air pollutant levels remained almost six times over the prescribed WHO limits of 10 μg/m3 annual mean, the study said the estimated air pollution-related economic losses were close to $ 8.1 billion ( ₹ 58,895 crore), which amounts to 13 % of the annual GDP of Delhi.
The study said, “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”.
On the global scale, close to 160,000 death have been attributed to the PM 2.5 air pollution in the 5 of the most populous cities, namely:
- Delhi (30 million)
- Mexico City (22 million)
- Sao Paulo (22 million)
- Shanghai (26 million)
- Tokyo (37 million)
Avinash Chanchal, Climate Campaigner, Greenpeache India said, “Despite recording relatively better air quality this year due to strict lockdown, air pollution continues to be a serious public health issue which also drastically impacts our economy. For the governments of the day, it is crucial that investments are made towards green and sustainable solutions.
“When we choose fossil fuel over clean energy, our health is put at stake. Polluted air increases the likelihood of deaths due to cancer & stroke, spike in asthma attacks and worsens the severity of COVID-19 symptoms”.
Chanchal also said, “We need to ensure our growth demand is fuelled by sustainable and cleaner sources of energy and cities should promote low cost, active and carbon-neutral transport options that prioritise walking, cycling, and public transport, the increased use of clean energy and clean transport will not only improve the public health but it will also strengthen the economy and public money”.
Frank Hammes, commenting on the revelations made by cost estimator CEO of IQAir, said, “Breathing should not be deadly. The fact that poor air quality claimed an estimated 160,000 lives in the five largest cities alone should give us pause, especially in a year when many cities were seeing lower air pollution levels due to less economic activity.
“Governments, corporations and individuals must do more to eliminate the sources of air pollution and make our cities better places to live.”
to give the impact of air pollution-related deaths on the economy some perspective, Greenpeace said it used the approach called “willingness-to-pay” which means 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.