Air pollution in Delhi is linked to the loss of around 24,000 lives and 5.8% of its GDP in the first half of 2020, despite a strict COVID-19 lockdown since March 25, a report said.

According to a new online tool by IQAir AirVisual and Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Delhi lost ₹26,230 crore, equivalent to 5.8% of its annual GDP, over the last six months due to air pollution.

It is also the highest economic cost of air pollution in terms of GDP across 28 major cities in the world.

“Air pollution in the city is linked to the loss of an estimated 24,000 lives in the first half of 2020,” a Greenpeace statement said.

In Mumbai, air pollution from PM2.5 — particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter — and nitrogen dioxide is responsible for the loss of around 14,000 lives and ₹15,750 crore in GDP since January 1.

The Greenpeace Southeast Asia/IQAir AirVisual counter applies an algorithm to ground-level air quality data to calculate the projected cost of air pollution due to PM2.5 and NO2.

Despite having comparatively better air quality because of a strict COVD-related lockdown, air pollution continues to be a serious public health crisis as well as threat to our economy, Avinash Chanchal, climate campaigner at Greenpeace India, said.

“As governments look to rebuild economies, it is more important than ever that investments are directed towards green, just and sustainable sectors of society,” he said.

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