Air pollution from fossil fuels costs India $150 bn annually, 5% of GDP

Air pollution from burning fossil fuels cost India an estimated $150 billion annually, the third highest worldwide, a report said on Wednesday.

According to the latest report by environment organisation Greenpeace Southeast Asia with inputs from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), the cost of air pollution borne by India from fossil fuels is 5.4 per cent of the country’s annual GDP.

The assessment incorporates recent research that quantifies the contribution of fossil fuels to global air pollution levels. It uses published global datasets describing surface level concentrations of PM2.5, ozone and NO2 to perform a health impact assessment and subsequent cost calculation for the year 2018.

“The global cost of air pollution from fossil fuels is estimated to be around $2.9 trillion, or 3.3 per cent of the world’s GDP annually.

“India is estimated to bear 10.7 lakh crore ($150 billion), or 5.4 per cent of India’s GDP annually, the third highest costs from fossil fuel air pollution worldwide,” the report said, adding that China with $900 billion bears the highest costs followed by the United States with USD 600 billion.

The analysis also suggests that an estimated one million deaths each year and approximately 980,000 estimated pre-term births, equating to an annual economic loss of Rs 10.7 lakh crore is attributed to air pollution from fossil fuel in India.

Another source of economic costs is that approximately 350,000 new cases of child asthma each year are linked to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a by-product of fossil fuel combustion.

“As a result, around 12.85 lakh more children in India live with Asthma linked to fossil fuel pollution. Exposure to pollution from fossil fuels also leads to around 49 crore days of work absence due to illness,” it said.

Business Standard
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