Economic Damage Due to Ozone Pollution in NCR: Ozone Impacts

Economic Damage Due to Ozone Pollution in NCR: Ozone Impacts

Sumit Sharma (The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0094-0.ch015
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Air pollution is a serious concern not just for human health but for agriculture also. This puts significant burden on the economy of a region. This paper assesses the health and agricultural damage caused by prevailing Ozone concentrations in National Capital Region (NCR) of India. The analysis is based on modelled and validated Ozone concentrations using state of the art air quality models. Established dose response relationships are used for assessment of impact over human health and agriculture. Value of statistical life approach and minimum support prices are used for economic evaluation of health and agricultural impacts, respectively. More than 3000 mortalities and loss of more than 1300 kt of agricultural crops can be attributed to Ozone pollution. An annual economic loss of about 1.27 billion USD is estimated on account of Ozone pollution in NCR. This study calls for sustainable development of the region which promotes growth without affecting the environmental quality.
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Sustainable development calls for a balance between the three legs- environmental, economic and social. While, economic growth leads to betterment on social fronts, it leaves significant footprints on the environment. One of the impacts of rapid economic growth is on quality of air which deteriorates with the release of emissions from different sources. This chapter focuses on impacts of ozone pollution on human health and agriculture in a typical urban-rural setting. The study also emphasizes on restructuring the unsustainable model of development, by reducing pollution and its impacts on social and economic dimensions.

Ozone is a gas which in stratosphere saves us from harmful UV radiations received from the sun. However, it is known to have a variety of impacts on humans when it is formed in the troposphere. Other than stratospheric-tropospheric exchange, Ozone is formed in the troposphere through reactions of various pre-cursors species like oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the presence of sunlight (Sillman, 2003). Tropospheric Ozone is known to have impacts on human health and agricultural yields of various crop species. It affects the respiratory system by reducing lung function, and aggravating any pre-existing disease like asthma. Various epidemiological studies have shown that daily exposure to high Ozone concentrations may increase mortality and morbidity in a region (Halonen et al, 2010, Jerrett et al, 2009). WHO, 2008 states that 21,000 premature deaths occur annually in 25 European Union countries on and after days with high ozone levels. In view of growing evidence of health impacts of Ozone, WHO has recently revised the air quality guideline for ozone from 120 to 100 μg/m3 (8-hr avg.) Other than health impacts, a number of studies show that Ozone can affect the plant growth in many ways. The effects are proven on their growth above the ground (Franzaring et al., 2000; Gimeno et al., 2004; Hayes et al., 2010), on their roots (Franzaring et al., 2000; Batty and Ashmore 2003), biomass partitioning (Cooley and Manning, 1987; Hayes et al.,2009), and on flowers and seeds (Rämö et al., 2007, Black et al., 2000). Ozone is known to reduce the yields of some of the important crops. A decline of 2.2–5.5% for maize, 3.9–15% for wheat and 8.5–14% for soybean can be attributed to high Ozone concentrations (Wilkinson et al, 2011). Limited research on the impacts of Ozone on materials shows that it can also significantly damage the rubber products and surface coatings (Lee, 1996). Besides, it has been found to impact the colours of textiles and paintings due to its reactivity with colors (CCME, 2003 and USEPA, 1996). Other than the environmental impacts, Ozone is a gas with significant green-house potential. It is known to have the third highest radiative forcing (between 1750-2005) just after CO2 and methane (IPCC, 2013). In all, this is evident that ozone is an important air pollutant which causes significant impacts on human society and its economic implications need to be studied for making informed decisions for its control.

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