Air pollution from burning of fossil fuels costs India Rs 10.7 lakh crore annually, reveals a latest report. In a first-of-its-kind study, the scientific analysis by Greenpeace Southeast Asia and Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) has quantified the global cost of air pollution emitted from fossil fuels.
Titled ‘Toxic Air: The Price of Fossil Fuels’, the report states that China mainland, the United States and India bear the highest cost of air pollution due to fossil fuels. The cost for India is equivalent to 5.4 per cent of its annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Highlighting the growing death toll attributed to air pollution, the report states that one million deaths per year in India are caused due to air pollution generated from burning fossil fuels. Apart from this, the pollution is also a major health threat to children.
“Over 12 lakh 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,” the report adds.
The study stresses transition to renewable energy is essential to combat climate change as well as to protect public health. “Every year, air pollution from fossil fuels takes millions of lives, increases our risk of stroke, lung cancer and asthma, and costs us trillions of dollars.
But this is a problem we know how to solve, by transitioning to renewable energy sources, phasing out diesel and petrol cars, and building public transport,” said Minwoo Son, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia.