Delhi smog takes toll on health and economic activity

Not just on health, Delhi smog is taking toll on economic activity too

Experts have termed the phenomenon as a "mild disruptor" of economic activity which impacts sectors such as tourism, construction, aviation

The phenomenon generally occurs during the winter season due to stubble burning, vehicular pollution and smoke emitted by burning of firecrackers. Credit: PTI Photo

The seasonal phenomenon of smog in Delhi-NCR has taken a toll on not just the health of the area's residents but also on the economic activity of the region as well.

The phenomenon generally occurs during the winter season due to stubble burning, vehicular pollution and smoke emitted by burning of firecrackers.

It is further aggravated via meteorological activity during this period.

It is discredited for hampering some economic activities in and around north India, especially Delhi-NCR.

Also Read: Delhi continues to wheeze under thick blanket of smog

Experts have termed the phenomenon as a "mild disruptor" of economic activity which impacts sectors such as tourism, construction, aviation, insurance and real estate.

Besides, the phenomenon has been cited by experts to partially lead human capital away from the area.

Accordingly, this trend has gained acceleration given the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The biggest impact is obviously on the health of the people of NCR. The mortality rate has gone up in the last few years due to pollution induced illness. The economic loss because of this seems to be the most," Skymet's Chief Executive Yogesh Patil told IANS.

"Apart from this, I see the rapid talent drain from senior management or even highly skilled resources from NCR due to rising issue of pollution levels."

According to Madhavi Arora, Lead Economist, Emkay Global Financial Services: "Delhi is bearing massive losses to its economy, per capita income and productivity because of the health impact and consequent loss of human capital due to air pollution.

"Sectors like tourism, residential real estate amongst others are taking a hit, further acting as a drag to economic growth."

Furthermore, the mobility of the area's residents start to get impacted due to the phenomenon said Suman Chowdhury, Chief Analytical Officer, Acuite Ratings and Research, adding that this impacts contact intensive sectors such as retail and hospitality.

Also Read: Why air quality has deteriorated sharply in Delhi

Notably, these sectors are currently recovering from the impact of a prolonged pandemic.

"There is also a significant effect on the local tourism industry as both domestic and foreign travellers tend to avoid visits during these times of heavy smog," he said.

On the other hand, Smog triggers a phenomenon known as 'Escape' tourism.

"We are witnessing a trend of 'escape tourism' in metros like Delhi, where increasing level of pollution has tourists flocking to destinations like Goa in search of fresh air," said Aloke Bajpai, Group CEO and Co-Founder, ixigo.

"Beach destinations are a favourite pick amongst travellers this Diwali."

Additionally, the phenomenon propels the consumer durables' industry to innovate newer products for air purification.

On its part, consumer durables major Panasonic India's Gaurav Sah, Business Head, Air Conditioners Group said: "We have been focusing on innovations related to improving indoor air quality, keeping in mind deteriorating air quality.

"Earlier this year, we introduced air conditioners with air purification technologies. These improve indoor air quality through the year."

In addition, sales of indoor plants such as snake plant now to reduce indoor air population increases drastically due to the phenomenon.

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