Reality check: EU spends 1/10th of GDP to deal with health problems caused by air pollution



By NewsGram Staff Writer

According to a major piece of information released by a UN study, Europe spent around US$ 1.6 trillion as the economic cost of 600,000 premature deaths and diseases caused by air pollution in 2010.

The study published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is the first assessment of the economic burden on countries due to deaths and diseases caused by indoor and outdoor air pollution.

As per statistics, premature deaths cost $1.4 trillion while the cost for treatment of diseases add an extra 10% to raise the figure to $1.6 trillion. The report also found that out of the 53 countries assessed, 10 countries spent 20% or more of their GDP to deal with the problem.

The study also found that 90% of the people in the region of study were exposed to fine particulate matter that are above WHO’s air quality guidelines. This led to 482,000 premature deaths in 2012 from heart and respiratory diseases, blood vessel conditions and strokes, and lung cancer and 117,200 premature deaths due to indoor pollution.

“Curbing the health effects of air pollution pays dividends. The evidence we have provides decision-makers across the whole of government with a compelling reason to act. If different sectors come together on this, we not only save more lives but also achieve results that are worth astounding amounts of money,” says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.