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Keywords

Air pollutant, Human health, Environment

Abstract

Air pollution causes a variety of environmental effects, besides harming human health. Acid rain is precipitation containing harmful amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids. These acids are formed primarily by nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned. In the economics of pollution, we see that there is a point where both society and the environment have some satisfaction, or in other words, there is an optimum amount of pollution. The optimum amount of pollution can be defined as the point where the marginal benefit equals the marginal cost of pollution. Air pollution is responsible for major harmful effects on human health, animal lives, natural ecosystems and the man-made environment. It is also responsible for climate change due to the enhanced greenhouse effect, acid rain, and the depletion of the ozone layer that constitute important global environmental problems. The relationship between environmental degradation and economic growth has been object of constant debate among environmental economists. During the last two decades, the debate between economic growth and the environment introduced into the discussion. External effects or externality is one of the most basic concepts evoked by economists when looking at problems of environmental pollution. The market impacts of outdoor air pollution are projected to lead to global economic costs that gradually increase to 1% of global GDP by 2060. Costs related to additional health expenditures and labour productivity losses dominate in the long run. From an economics perspective, demand law suggests an inverse relationship between price and the quantity consumed of a marketable product. However, when a product does not have a very well-established market, this product will be most likely underpriced. This is the case of natural systems such as air or water. The lack of property rights for these natural inputs and the absence of environmental regulation or legal protection to pollution receptors make a firm to perceive air as an input that can be freely used, like a common resource, thus neglecting all external costs imposed to other agents of the economy. In other words, if there were well-defined property rights for air, firms would have to buy the right to pollute it and emissions could be internalized through a market mechanism. The six-scale Air Quality Index (AQI) rates air quality from ‘good’ (minimal impact) to ‘severe’ (affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases). The air quality in Chennai has deteriorated sharply, with the AQI downgrading air quality in the city from ‘satisfactory’ to ‘very poor’.

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