Around 1.2 lakh lives were lost due to air pollution in six Indian cities, according to the Greenpeace Southeast Asia Analysis of IQAir data. Further, the economic losses amounted to over ₹2 lakh crore.
The study measured air quality by recording the concentration of poisonous PM2.5 particles, which are less than 2.5 microns in diameter and can cause deadly diseases, including cancer and cardiac problems.
In New Delhi, air pollution caused an estimated 54,000 premature deaths in 2020, a higher toll than in any other big global metropolis, according to the study.
Pollution in Delhi had almost disappeared earlier last year, when the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus, but it returned after the government began lifting restrictions at the end of August.
Not all Delhi, pollution caused 25,000 in Mumbai, 12,000 in Bengaluru, 11,000 each in Hyderabad and Chennai and around 6,700 in Lucknow.
"The need of the hour is to rapidly scale up renewable energy, bring an end to fossil fuel emissions and boost sustainable and accessible transport systems," the report said, referring to big cities around the world including in India.
“When we choose fossil fuel over clean energy, our health is put at stake. Polluted air increases the likelihood of deaths due to cancer and stroke, a spike in asthma attacks and worsens the severity of Covid-19 symptoms,” Avinash Chanchal, Climate Campaigner, Greenpeace India said in a statement.