Skip to main content

Air pollution gobbles up India's 7.9% GDP, leads to huge losses in welfare, income to people: World Bank

Counterview Desk
A top World Bank study has said that India suffered a gross domestic product (GDP) loss of US$ 505,103 or 7.69 percent of the GDP in 2013 as a result of pollution levels, up from US$ 104,906 or 6.80 percent of GDP in 1990. Calling it “welfare loss”, number of deaths during the period have due to air pollution has also gone up – from 1,043,182 in 1990 to 1,403,136 in 2013.
During the same period, the study finds, India’s pollution levels rose from 30.25 PM2.5 (ug/m3) to 46.68 PM2.5 (ug/m3), calculated as particulate matter or particulates, micrograms per cubic meter. These are microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the Earth's atmosphere.
In 2013, among other BRICS countries, the study finds, Brazil suffered a loss of US$ 82,612 (or 2.66 percent of GDP), Russia US$ 279,801 (or 8.28 percent of GDP), China US$ 1,589,767 (or 9.92 percent of GDP), and South Africa US$ 20,656 (or 3.12 percent of GDP). GDP losses are calculated by taking into account such factors like labour income losses and mortality costs.
Titled “The Cost of Air Pollution” Strengthening the Economic Case for Action”, and prepared in association with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation University of Washington, Seattle, the report states, “In 2013 exposure to ambient and household air pollution cost the world’s economy some $5.11 trillion in welfare losses.”
The study says, “In 2013 welfare losses in low- and middle-income countries accounted for 59 percent of the global total. Higher overall exposure, risks, and losses among middle-income countries are driven in large part by trends in India and China.” It adds, “From 1990 to 2013, welfare losses increased for countries at all income levels other than the OECD countries, which saw a small decline.”
GNI: Gross National Income
“These losses increased by 130 percent and 133 percent for lower- and upper-middle-income countries, respectively, excluding India and China, which saw even greater increases”, the study says, adding, “The countries that experienced the greatest increases in welfare losses from ambient air pollution include many of the fastest-growing, fastest-urbanizing ones.”
While saying that “overall, per capita welfare losses declined for more than half of all countries” the study adds, “South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific were the only two regions in which average losses from household air pollution increased, stemming mainly from the higher per capita losses in China and India.”
Providing estimates of welfare losses in dollar terms, the study says, in 2013 these were pretty high in China (10.9 percent), Sri Lanka (7.5 percent), and India (7.0 percent). However, it adds, welfare losses have declined the most in western and northern Europe, including in Norway (4.5 percent), Sweden (3.3 percent), Denmark (3.1 percent), Finland (2.6 percent), and the United Kingdom (2.5 percent).
The study regrets, 35 percent of the global population resided in areas with concentrations above the WHO norm of an annual average, adding, “The most extreme concentrations experienced by populations in China and India.”
Worse it says, “Since the 1990s, exposure to ambient air pollution has grown in most countries (other than high-income countries), with some of the greatest increases in the heavily populated, fastest-growing regions, including South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific.”

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.

Oxfam on WB project: ICT 'ineffective', privatised learning to worsen gender divide

By Rajiv Shah 
A top multinational NGO, with presence in several developed and developing countries, has taken strong exception to the World Bank part-funding Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project in six Indian states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha – for its emphasis on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled approaches for teacher development, student assessment and digital platform for early childhood education.

Coal blocks for tycoons: Rinchi village tribals may be declared forest land encroachers

By Gladson Dungdung*
On June 18, 2020, the Government of India initiated the process for auctioning 41 coal blocks for commercialisation. These coal blocks are located in different states within India and most of them fall under Fifth Schedule areas. The Indian government claims that their decision to auction these coal areas is a big step towards making the country Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant) in the energy sector.