|Foundation Day 2014|
PHFI celebrated Foundation Day on March 28, 2014. This year, we focused the spotlight on a grave and significant issue: air pollution and public health. In the last couple of months, media coverage of the dire state of air quality in India has brought the problem to the foreground. In-depth reports published in 2013 have raised alarm regarding the number of deaths attributable to air pollution and for a country like India grappling with an under-funded and ill-equipped health system, this represents a major public health crisis.
Professor Michael Greenstone, 3M Professor of Environmental Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has graciously accepted our invitation to deliver this year’s Foundation Day lecture. Speaking on Shorter Lives Due to Air Pollution and Some Potential Solutions for India, Prof Greenstone presented new evidence on people’s exposure to ambient concentrations of airborne Particulate Matter (PM), the most dangerous form of air pollution in India, China, and other countries. For much of India’s population, these concentrations greatly exceed India’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards and levels that the World Health Organization consider safe. Describing some of his recent research on the effects of PM exposure on life expectancies in China, Prof. Greenstone spoke on the application of these estimates in developing measures of PM-induced loss of life expectancy in India. He also shared potential policy solutions, emphasizing the need to test their effectiveness.
Prof. Greenstone is Non-Resident Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution, and was formerly Chief Economist of the President of the United States' Council of Economic Advisers. He has conducted pioneering research on the costs and benefits of environmental quality, including assessments of the health and economic effects of government regulation and emissions trading in India, China and the USA.