Monetary burden of health impacts of air pollution in Mumbai, India
Public Health. 2011 Mar;125(3):157-64.
Monetary burden of health impacts of air pollution in Mumbai, India: Implications for public health policy.
Patankar AM, Trivedi PL. K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Vidyavihar (East), Mumbai 400077, India.
OBJECTIVES: Mumbai, a mega city with a population of more than 12 million, is experiencing acute air pollution due to commercial activity, a boom in construction and vehicular traffic. This study was undertaken to investigate the link between air pollution and health impacts for Mumbai, and estimate the monetary burden of these impacts.
STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional data were subjected to logistic regression to analyse the link between air pollution and health impacts, and the cost of illness approach was used to measure the monetary burden of these impacts.
METHODS: Data collected by the Environmental Pollution Research Centre at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai were analysed using logistic regression toinvestigate the link between air pollution and morbidity impacts. The monetary burden of morbidity was estimated through the cost of illness approach. For this purpose, information on treatment costs and foregone earnings due to illness was obtained through the household survey and interviews with medical practitioners.
RESULTS: Particulate matter (PM(10)) and nitrogen dioxide (NO(2)) emerged as the critical pollutants for a range of health impacts, including symptoms such as cough, breathlessness, wheezing and cold, and illnesses such as allergic rhinitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This study developed the concentration-response coefficients for these health impacts. The total monetary burden of these impacts, including personal burden, government expenditure and societal cost, is estimated at 4522.96 million Indian Rupees (INR) or US$ 113.08 million for a 50-μg/m(3) increase in PM(10), and INR 8723.59 million or US$ 218.10 million for a similar increase in NO(2).
CONCLUSIONS: The estimated monetary burden of health impacts associated with air pollution in Mumbai mainly comprises out-of-pocket expenses of city residents. These expenses form a sizable proportion of the annual income of individuals, particularly those belonging to poor households. These findings have implications for public health policy, particularly accessibility and affordability of health care for poor households in Mumbai. The study provides a rationale for strengthening the public health services in the city to make them more accessible to poor households, especially those living in the slums of Mumbai.