Sunday, December 20, 2009

Delhi Experiences ~10,900 Premature Deaths Annually due to Outdoor Air Pollution

A pilot study was conducted in Delhi, India on October 3rd, 2009, covering ~160 km on road over 10 hours, recording PM10 and PM2.5 measurements at 1 min/1 sec intervals (full report).

During the experiment, over an 8 hour period, average
PM10 pollution = 206 micro-gm/m3;
PM2.5 pollution = 163 micro-gm/m3;
Black Carbon pollution = 36 micro-gm/m3.

The collected data was interpolated over the Delhi map for visualization of the extent of exposure levels on a daily basis (shown below).

In the Northwest and West sections, traffic movement was slow, especially along the major corridors, along with construction activities, which contributed to higher ambient pollution levels. The Northwest and East sections also home for industrial areas. The South Delhi , which is more residential, tends to experience on average 100 to 200 mg/m3, which is well above the national and WHO health guidelines. See animated monitoring route.

For the current observations, utilizing the average concentrations over Delhi, assuming at least 30% of the population (~5,000,000) is constantly exposed to these levels, and a dose-response function from premature mortality (0.000014 cases/mg/m3/percapita), a back-of-the-envelope calculation yields an annual mortality rate of ~10,900.

This at willingness-to-pay rate of ~US$50,000.00 (~25,00,000.00 Indian Rupees) translates to US$545 millions in health damages due to premature mortality annually.

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