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25/07/2013 09:43pm

India can go green with minimal cost, says World Bank

image India can go green with minimal cost, says World Bank
New Delhi, Jul 25 (KNN) India can make green growth a reality by putting in place strategies to reduce environmental degradation at the minimal cost of 0.02 per cent to 0.04 per cent of average annual GDP growth rate, said a World Bank report.

The annual cost of environmental degradation in India amounts to about Rs 3.75 trillion (USD 80 billion) which is equal to 5.7 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The country can maintain a high pace of economic growth without jeopardizing future environmental sustainability.

The report analyses the physical and monetary losses of environmental health and natural resources; the trade-offs between economic growth and environmental sustainability; and provides a valuation for biodiversity and ecosystem services in India.

It said, particle pollution which comes from burning of fossil fuels has serious health consequences amounting up to 3 per cent of India’s GDP along with losses due to lack of access to clean water supply, sanitation and hygiene and natural resources depletion.

Of this, the impacts of outdoor air pollution account for the highest share at 1.7 per cent followed by cost of indoor air pollution at 1.3 per cent.

The higher costs for outdoor or indoor air pollution are primarily driven by an elevated exposure of the young and productive urban population to particulate matter that results in a substantial cardiopulmonary and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease mortality load among adults.

 About 23 per cent of child mortality in the country could be attributed to environmental degradation, the report said.

Failure to act now could also constrain long-term productivity and hence India’s economic growth prospects, it said.

The study models several scenarios to show that a 10 per cent particulate emission reduction by 2030 will lower GDP modestly, representing a loss of merely 0.3 per cent to the GDP compared to business as usual.

On the other hand, 30 per cent particulate emission reduction lowers GDP about USD 97 billion, or 0.7 per cent with very little impact on the growth rates.

There are significant health benefits under both scenarios. The savings from reduced health damages range from USD 105 billion in the 30 case to USD 24 billion with a 10 per cent reduction. This, to a large extent, compensates for the projected GDP loss.

The report also emphasizes that green growth is measurable and important as India is a hotspot of unique biodiversity and ecosystems. The study undertook a first-ever comprehensive assessment of value of ecosystem services from various biomes across India.

Based on conservative estimates, it amounts to about 3.0 per cent to 5.0 per cent of GDP.  (KNN) 

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