How tackling pollution can help Delhi save Rs 1,000cr/yr

Delhi: 3 Dec, 2021(Times of India)


NEW DELHI: The advisories and precautions by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) can save Delhi Rs 1,096 crore per year on health expenditure, claims a study.

Co-authored by the central forecasting agency’s founder project director, Gufran Beig, the study asserts that even if only 5% of the population suffering from air pollution-related ailments uses SAFAR’s advices and precautions, over a thousand crore can be saved per year.

“Our findings support the notion that public knowledge and early warning remain critical components of health and economic growth. SAFAR is credited with saving 11-14% of total money spent by such residents, according to this research,” said Beig.

 “Impact of SAFAR Air Quality Forecasting Framework and Advisory Services in Reducing the Economic Health Burden of India”, published in the international journal “Regional Economic Development Research”, is written by Suvarna Tikle, Ishika Ilme and Beig, and talks of pulmonary disease linked with air pollution, allergic rhinitis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. It considers the total population of Delhi at 2.2 crore, percentage of people suffering from pulmonary illnesses and the cost they bear at hospitals.

The study estimates that besides basic treatment, costs of hospitalisation and ICU can be saved. It talks of prevention by intervention through an early warning about the pollution situation. The warning includes suggesting people to avoid going out or prolonged exposure, barring outdoor activities, on the predicted polluted days.

“A crucial finding indicates that the yearly average total cost of all ailments caused by air pollution in Delhi and Pune is around Rs 7,694 crore and Rs 948 crore, respectively. Allergic rhinitis OPD treatment costs the highest (Rs 1,449 crore), followed by asthma (Rs 1,001 crore), and COPD (Rs 514 crore) in Delhi.”