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Economic Cost of Pollution

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PC- The Indian Express

Economic Cost of Pollution to the World- As we all might agree that the growth of the economy is imperative for any country. But does it have to be at the cost of people’s health?

The same dilemma is put by rising pollution levels in the world, Air pollution specifically.

Just to give some idea, the global economy loses $8 billion per day as a cost to air pollution, adding up to a whopping $2.9 trillion every year. And this number is poised to increase.

So, how is it causing?


Air pollution is caused mainly by industries and by burning fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, and wood to name a few.

These can be caused by vehicles, manufacturing. Burning these releases pollutants that In turn detroriate the air quality.

And decreasing forest area lit fire in the pyre.


Every action has an opposite reaction. This certainly applies here.

The economic cost of pollution is huge.

Developing countries bears the most impact. Clearly, it includes mainly China and India.

For example-

China, and India are among the ones who bear the highest economic cost of soaring pollution.

The financial cost comes by way of respiratory and non-communicable diseases which also decreases life expectancy. Nonetheless, it impacts the children which, in turn, again makes the potential workforce smaller in size.

Besides, it makes the government invest more in healthcare which again is not the best place to put money for growth of the economy.

Altogether, it costs the world $ 2.9 trillion a year, including China’s share of $900 billion, The US’s $600 billion and India’s $150 billion per year.

Even so, it brings with it Climate change.

If that’s real,  According to research by Oxford Economics, it says that India’s GDP could fall by 90%, leaving only 10% of existing, by 2100 due to climate change.

The study also estimates that 3 percent of warming by 2100 could slash Global GDP by 21%.

Nonetheless, these numbers are the indicators to what extent measures are awaited.

Whereas there are other factors and risks associated with this, which are uncountable and deadly.

Read more here

Situation gets bad?

By all these mind boggling numbers, the situation seems to get bad before it gets better.

In all this, the country which has taken worse hit is India.

As India moves towards rapid industrialization and becomes the world’s fastest growing economy. It should be noted that out of 20 most polluted cities in the world, Indian cities are 14 in them.

Since, cities and countries imposed lockdown for containing Covid-19 spread, the global air quality index has been improved.

Particularly so in China, India and the US , besides, that had made improvements. But as it was short term, waiting for long term benefit would not be right.

 Progress made?

Nations like Sweden are taking steps for curbing their emissions. By incentivizing the use of renewable energy, and by levying charges on emission by combustion plants.

Other developing countries like China, where air quality is deteriorating, govt. has taken measures to curb it.

This force has helped China become the world’s largest market for Electric cars.

Solution to Pollution?

As we have discussed , all these problems. We have been waiting for solutions which may help.

That includes various steps on part of the government as well as of citizens’

Govt. should boost the use of renewable energy, while trying to curb the use of fossil fuels.

Promoting the electric car industry, levying heavy charges on the use of fossil fuels, and imposing a tax on emissions by corporations are some of the measures taken by many developed countries.

And along with the government. We should try to limit our usage of fossil fuels, and making small compromises such as choosing public transport instead of personal ones are few steps that could bring change at the Micro level, especially in a country like India.


Despite all the negatives, it cannot be denied that the world is progressing. Electric cars are selling more than ever. Startups in this space are flourishing. Setting up plants powered by renewables energy has been the trend lately. Also, positive steps are being taken by countries and the UN.

Concluding, it can be said that the situation has gotten worse and nature is alarming to take necessary steps.

If measures are not taken, anytime soon, we will continue to lose people, and ECONOMIC GROWTH which is why we are causing it in the first place.

Till next time….

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