At least 80,665 adults over the age of 30 years died in 2015 in Delhi and Mumbai where air pollution contributed to their deaths, according to a new report by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. In 1995, this number was around 39,000.
"In economic terms, air pollution cost the two cities $10.66 billion (approximately ₹70,000 crore) in 2015, or about 0.71% of the country's gross domestic product," reported The Times of India.
While premature deaths due to air pollution in Delhi reportedly went up by almost 2.5 times since 1995, it also caused 2.9 crores less productive days or days off work in 2015, according to the report. It also reportedly caused 1.2 lakh emergency room visits, reported TOI.
Interestingly, Delhi's Environment Minister Imran Hussain told the legislative assembly on Wednesday that pollution levels in the capital are "not rising".
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier said that the "odd-even" scheme would be brought back in the capital if pollution levels worsened. The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA) has also submitted a plan where emergency measures like the odd-even car rationing scheme will be automatically re-introduced if pollution levels worsen. Interestingly, it has been found that the ambient air quality during the odd-even scheme was worse than usual.
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