Impact of SAFAR Air Quality Forecasting Framework and Advisory Services in Reducing the Economic Health Burden of India

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Research Economic Development Research, Volume 2, Issue 2, p.211-226 (2021)



Air Quality, economic costs, health, outreach activities, pulmonary diseases, SAFAR


The economic loss attributable to air pollution and associated disease burden is increasing in polluted megacities all over the globe; Indian megacities are no exception. India has launched the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) framework to provide air pollution health advisories well in advance through various outreach activities. We hereby estimate the economic benefit of SAFAR outreach attributed to prevention by intervention through an early warning based on a probabilistic scenario adopted in this work for the top two megacities of India, namely, Delhi and Pune, for the period 2011-2012 to 2019-2020 and 2014-2015 to 2019-2020 respectively. This study considers the cost-saving in pulmonary (Asthma, COPD, etc.) and other related diseases linked to air pollution. Results show that the annual average total cost of all diseases in Pune and Delhi is INR 9,480 million and INR 76,940 million respectively. We found that the total annual treatment cost of Allergic rhinitis OPD treatment cost was the highest (INR 14,490 Million) followed by asthma (INR 10,010 Million), and COPD (INR 5,140 Million) in Delhi during the year 2012. In Pune, annual treatment costs of Allergic Rhinitis, COPD and Asthma were INR 3,590, 890 and 710 Million respectively during the year 2015. SAFAR framework can make average annual savings of ≃INR 10,960 million in Delhi and ≃INR 1,000 million in Pune in the health sector, even if only 5% of the total affected sick population takes advantage of its services. Looking at the huge economic benefits, it is envisaged that the SAFAR framework model may be replicated in many more cities along with other mitigation measures rigorously