Copied from an excellent article “Factor in India’s environmental loss and all we have is negative growth” written by Jay Mazoomdaar for FirstPost on 4 August 2013. You can find links to the World Bank report and more, at the original FirstPost link above.
A July 2013 report from the World Bank explored road-maps to sustainable growth. The study’s admittedly conservative estimate of air and water pollution, scarcity of water, lack of sanitation, loss of soil, pastureland and forests puts the cost of damages at 5.7 percent of our GDP.
The report makes it clear that lack of data did not allow it to factor in loss of fisheries, biodiversity, non-use (ecological) value of forests etc which would have significantly added to the damage. For example, the non-use and bio-prospecting value of forests could be as much as 6-20 times the use values. Clearly, the total cost of environmental damage far outweighs the 6.6 percent growth in GDP.
The Bank study says that particulate pollution (PM10) from the burning of fossil fuels has serious health consequences, amounting to 3 percent of India’s GDP. Of this, the impact of outdoor air pollution accounts for the highest share, at 1.7 percent, followed by the cost of indoor air pollution at 1.3 percent. Sustained exposure of the young and productive urban population to particulate matter pollution results in substantial cardiopulmonary and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease mortality.
A significant portion of diseases caused by inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene affects by children under 5. About 23 percent of child mortality in India could be attributed to environmental degradation, the report says. Cropland and pastureland damages arise from the decline in the value of crops due to topsoil erosion, water logging, salinity and overgrazing, while unsustainable logging practices and over-exploitation of forest resources cause forest degradation. The report pegs the total cost of these environmental damages at $80 billion.
For more, read the original FirstPost article linked above!
A reader left an interesting comment at that original FirstPost article:
“Particulate pollution has serious health consequences, amounting to 3 percent of GDP”
—-So if SPMs are eliminated, hospitals and doctors and nurses and pharma companies will make less money, and GDP will drop by 3%. Can’t afford that in the current state of the economy. Moral of the story, portions of GDP need to associated with a PLUS or MINUS sign. As long as cleaning up oil spills, placing people on life support after a five-car crash, and supplying meals to Sanjay Dutt in jail are all POSITIVE GDP, same sign as funding a little orphan girl’s school fees and meals, NOTHING will change.