India is likely to report one of the highest rises in mortality rates from air pollution
A report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has estimated that air pollution will result in 6 to 9 million premature deaths by 2060. The report has also stated that sick days, medical bills and reduced agricultural output will cause economic losses of around US $2.6 trillion annually or 1 per cent of global GDP if measures are not taken to deal with the issue.
“The number of lives cut short by air pollution is already terrible and the potential rise in the next few decades is terrifying. If this is not motivation enough to act, this report shows there will also be a heavy economic cost to not taking action,” said OECD Environment Director Simon Upton, presenting the report at the 8th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in Batumi, Georgia. “We must prevent these projections from becoming reality.”
India, China, Korea and central Asian countries like Uzbekistan are likely to report the highest rises in mortality rates from air pollution. Premature death rates are expected to be up to three times higher in 2060 than in 2010 in China and up to four times higher in India.
India, China and Korea will also report the biggest GDP losses as health costs and lower labour productivity will hit output. Crop yields are set to suffer in most countries, according to the report.
The OECD report confirms the trend established by a recent study by the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) which states that air pollution is responsible for half a million premature deaths in India.
But the Indian government seems to be in no mood to consider the results of studies like these. Reacting to a similar study on pollution published in the Geophysical Research Letters Journal of the American Geophysical Union, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said in an official statement, "We reject the claims made in the so-called research article that Indians lose six years of their lives because of pollution. This study has not been done on sampling, it has not been done on ground studying and it is not based on long-term observations."
Javadekar stressed that India was already taking several measures to tackle the problem of air pollution, such as advancing migration to Bharat VI norms, formulating Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules and monitoring of industrial pollution.
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