Valuing the Benefits of Air Pollution Abatement
In the course of past decades, India has undergone economic development. Real gross national product has grown at an average rate of more than 6% in the last decade. This economic growth was fuelled by processes of industrialization, urbanization, and population growth and was not achieved without sacrifices. Air pollution must be counted among those sacrifices, and the levels of air pollution in urban areas often exceed national air quality standards for several pollutants. An increase in the air pollution level raises public mortality and morbidity (Krupnick et al.,1990; Cropper et al., 1997a; Chhabra et al., 2001). Cropper et al. report the results of a study relating levels of particulate matter to daily deaths in Delhi between 1991 and 1994. This study finds a positive, significant relationship between particulate pollution and daily nontraumatic deaths, as well as deaths from certain causes (respiratory and cardiovascular problems) and for certain age groups. Chhabra et al. find evidence of elevated rates of respiratory morbidity among those dwelling in highly polluted areas of Delhi after adjusting for several confounders. Daily counts of emergency room visits for acute asthma, acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD), and acute coronary events are related to daily levels of pollutants, particularly total suspended particulate (TSP) recorded a day earlier using time series approach. Therefore, governments increasingly need information about the costs and benefits associated with reduced levels of pollution to assist them in pollution control measures.