According to a Greenpeace Southeast Asia (non-governmental organisation) analysis of cost to the economy due to air pollution, PM 2.5 air pollution claimed approximately 54,000 lives in Delhi in 2020.

PM 2.5 refers to fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. It causes respiratory problems and also reduces visibility. It is an endocrine disruptor that can affect insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity, thus contributing to diabetes.

Greenpeace Analysis on Economic Cost of Air Pollution: Key poins

  • Report on Indian Cities:
    • Delhi:
      • In July 2020, Greenpeace found out that of the 28 global cities studied, Delhi bore the highest economic cost of air pollution with an estimated loss of 24,000 lives in the first half of 2020 despite a strict Covid-19 lockdown.
      • In 2020, air pollutant levels in Delhi remained almost six times above the prescribed WHO (World Health Organisation) limits of 10 μg/m3 annual mean.
      • The estimated air pollution-related economic losses were USD 8.1 billion, which amounts to 13% of Delhi’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
    • Mumbai:
      • An estimated 25,000 avoidable deaths in Mumbai in 2020 have been attributed to air pollution from PM 2.5 and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).
    • Other Cities:
      • Damage due to air pollution is equally worrying in other cities – Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Lucknow – featured in the global analysis.
      • Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad estimated an approximate 12,000, 11,000, and 11,000 avoidable deaths respectively due to polluted air.
  • Global Scenario:
    • Globally, approximately 1,60,000 deaths have been attributed to PM 2.5 air pollution in the five most populous cities — Delhi (India), Mexico City (Mexico), São Paulo (Brazil), Shanghai (China) and Tokyo (Japan).
    • In 2020, the estimated economic cost of PM 2.5 air pollution exceeded USD 5 billion in 14 cities included in the analysis.
    • Tokyo (Japan):
      • Of the included cities, the highest estimated total financial cost from air pollution was recorded in Tokyo, which suffered approximately 40,000 avoidable deaths and an economic loss of USD 43 billion due to PM 2.5 air pollution in 2020.
    • Los Angeles (USA):
      • It recorded the highest per capita financial cost of PM 2.5 air pollution of all cities on the estimator, at approximately USD 2,700 per resident.

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