Effect of cleaner air on well-being in India

Joint research by the World Population (POP) and Mitigation of Air Pollution (MAG) programs shows that advanced but costly measures to reduce fine particulate matter would improve air quality, human health, and longevity in India, and also pay for themselves in a few years by increasing productivity. 

Smog in India © Teply | IIASA

Smog in India

The joint research was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, and showed that reducing fine particulate matter would benefit development. POP demographer Erich Striessnig and research scholar Warren Sanderson, together with MAG colleagues, demonstrated that the direct costs of the advanced control policy measures would amount to about half a percent of GDP per year initially, and then fall to roughly three-tenths of a percent of GDP by 2030.

However, focusing only on direct costs is restrictive. It ignores the fact that investments in cleaner air will reduce the number of sick days experienced by the working population, and thereby increase productivity. Lower mortality will extend life expectancy, and people who expect to live longer will, in general, accumulate more assets in their working years, thereby increasing capital formation for productive investments.


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Last edited: 22 May 2014

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