Delhi- Air pollution caused more than 16.7 lakh deaths in India in 2019 — over ten times more than the country’s Covid-19 death toll so far — causing economic losses of nearly $36.8 billion (Rs 2,71,446 crore), according to a study published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal.
The study, conducted by researchers from AIIMS, ICMR and IIT-Delhi and titled ‘Global Burden of Disease Study, 2019’, measured the economic impact of air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, as it caused loss of output due to premature deaths and morbidity.
These deaths account for 17.8 per cent of the total deaths in the country last year, while the economic losses amounted to 1.36 per cent of India’s total gross domestic product (GDP), stated the study published Tuesday.
The researchers said that while the association of air pollution with multiple adverse health outcomes is well established, its economic impact is less understood. It is important to elucidate this economic impact for the states of India, the researchers wrote in the study.
The team, which also included contributors from institutes like CSIR and PGIMER, estimated the amount of exposure to ambient particulate matter pollution, household air pollution and ambient ozone pollution, as well as their attributable deaths in every state of India.
The economic impact of air pollution was also estimated for every state of India.
“Improved methods in this paper have led to a higher estimate of the impact of air pollution on health and disease in India than previously estimated. The health and economic impact of air pollution is highest in the less developed states of India, an inequity that should be addressed,” said Lalit Dandona, National Chair of Population Health at ICMR and senior author of this paper, in a statement.