India, according to a report, incurred over USD 55 billion losses in terms of labour output caused by air pollution in 2013, which is about 0.84 per cent of its GDP, the government today said. Minister of State for Environment Mahesh Sharma in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, however, said such reports need to be interpreted in the due perspective as they are based on different methodologies and involve various assumptions and uncertainties. The report titled ‘The cost of air pollution: Strengthening the economic case for action’ was published by the World Bank and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle in September 2016, Sharma said.
“(According to it) India incurred about USD 55.39 billion losses in terms of labour output caused by air pollution in 2013, which is about 0.84 per cent of its GDP. The report has also estimated losses with respect to other dimensions,” he said. The minister said that reports estimating the economic impact of environmental degradation have been published by the World Bank from time to time.
“These reports need to be interpreted in the due perspective as they are based on different methodologies and involve various assumptions and uncertainties,” he pointed out.
Asked whether the ministry has identified the biggest sources of air pollution in the country, he said that apportionment studies conducted in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and Kanpur to identify major sources and their contribution to particulate matter pollution indicates road dust suspension, vehicles, garbage burning, construction, diesel generator sets, industries, among others to be the major sources of particulate pollution in these cities.
“There are no conclusive data available in the country to establish direct correlation of death or disease exclusively due to air pollution. “However, air pollution is one of the triggering factors for respiratory ailments and associated diseases,” he said when asked about details of number of people who have died due to air pollution in the country over the past three years.