Bengaluru emerged as the third worst city in India to be affected by air pollution in 2020 with 12,000 estimated deaths, according to a Greenpeace Southeast Asia analysis. Delhi fared worst with 54,000 such estimated deaths followed by Mumbai at 25,000 deaths. Greenpeace said these numbers were reached using live air quality data collected by IQAir, an air quality monitoring technology provider. The tool also quantifies economic cost due to air pollution on a real-time basis.
Globally, approximate 160,000 deaths have been attributed to PM2.5 air pollution in the five most populous cities of Delhi (30 million), Mexico City (22 million), Sao Paulo (22 million), Shanghai (26 million) and Tokyo (37 million), it said.
These mortality and cost estimates are based on the total impact attributable to PM 2.5 over a full year. Daily figures are calculated by apportioning the annual costs day by day according to each day’s recorded pollutant levels. Details of the methodology can be found here.
PM2.5 refers to fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. Exposure to PM2.5 is considered the most important environmental risk factor for deaths globally, and was attributed to 4.2 million premature deaths in 2015, the study said.
Greenpeace advocated for a shift to cleaner and greener fuels and other sources of energy to minimise these loss of lives and the economy too.
“Despite recording relatively better air quality this year due to strict lockdown, air pollution continues to be a serious public health issue which also drastically impacts our economy. For the governments of the day, it is crucial that investments are made towards green and sustainable solutions. When we choose fossil fuel over clean energy, our health is put at stake. Polluted air increases the likelihood of deaths due to cancer and stroke, spike in asthma attacks and worsens severity of COVID-19 symptoms,” said Avinash Chanchal, Climate Campaigner, Greenpeace India.
"We need to ensure our growth demand is fuelled by sustainable and cleaner sources of energy and cities should promote low cost, active and carbon-neutral transport options that prioritises walking, cycling, and public transport, the increased use of clean energy and clean transport will not only improve the public health but it will also strengthen the economy and public money" added Chanchal.