'Over 80,000 lost their lives in Delhi and Mumbai due to Air pollution'

The death toll was 19,716 in 1995 but in 2015 it went up to 48,651. While in past 20 years, Mumbai witnessed a rise in casualties 19,291 to 32,014.

A new study at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay has claimed that in the year 2015, air pollution was the root cause of 80,665 premature deaths of adults, over 30 years of age, in Mumbai and Delhi. Economically, it has also caused the two cities about 0.71% of the country’s gross domestic product which is approximately Rs. 70,000 crore.

The researchers claimed that the deterioration in health and productivity is gradually increasing per year due to exposure to pollution. This is also raising the percentage of respiratory ailments among the people. The impact was calculated through data on particulate matter measuring 10 microns, population and death rates.

There were more premature deaths in Delhi due to the air pollution caused because of vehicle exhaust, construction dust and other industrial processes. The death toll was 19,716 in 1995 but in 2015 it went up to 48,651. While in past 20 years, Mumbai witnessed a rise in casualties 19,291 to 32,014.

This horrible rate of decrease in the air quality had led 64,037 people to visit emergency rooms of the hospitals with a respiratory disorder. In Delhi alone, 29 million patients were found suffering respiratory disorder.

On comparing the economic situations affected by pollution, in Mumbai, the cost of PM10 exposure rose by around 60% from $2.68 million in 1995 to $4.26 billion in 2015. While the cost to Delhi jumped by 135% in the same period to hit $6.39 billion, the study found.

The “disability-adjusted life years” (DALY), a measure of health and longevity representing years lost due to various illness states that the illness due to air pollution doubled in Delhi between 1995 and 2015 from 0.34 million to 0.75 million DALY.

In Mumbai, that number went up from 0.34 million to 0.51million DALYs in the same period. To keep to current health outcomes in 2030, PM10 levels would have to decline by 44% in Mumbai and 67% in Delhi, the study said.

The IIT study was published recently in the Environmental Science and Pollution Research Journal, and authored by research scholar Maji, IIT Bombay professor Anil Dikshit and Ashok Deshpande from the Berkeley Initiative in Soft Computing, USA.