Sunday October 20, 2019

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

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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.

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Thai Authorities Issue Alert over Increase in Air Pollution in Bangkok

The country's authorities consider anything exceeding 50 µg/m3 to be unhealthy, whereas the World Health Organization recommends

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Thai, Authorities, Air Pollution
The pollution control department, in a statement said that PM2.5 - particles 2.5 microns or less in diameter - levels were between 40 and 78 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) in the capital and its surrounding cities. Pixabay

Thai authorities on Monday issued an alert over an increase in air pollution in Bangkok and recommended the people to exercise precaution, especially minors, the elderly and the sick.

The pollution control department, in a statement said that PM2.5 – particles 2.5 microns or less in diameter – levels were between 40 and 78 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) in the capital and its surrounding cities.

The country’s authorities consider anything exceeding 50 µg/m3 to be unhealthy, whereas the World Health Organization recommends that PM2.5 levels should not exceed 25 µg/m3, according to Efe news.

The department, in a statement, urged people in higher risk categories, such as children, pregnant women, the elderly and the sick to stay indoors.

Thai, Authorities, Air Pollution
Thai authorities on Monday issued an alert over an increase in air pollution in Bangkok and recommended the people to exercise precaution, especially minors, the elderly and the sick. Pixabay

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha tweeted encouraging people to use masks and called for construction firms and factories to cooperate to reduce air pollution.

According to the authorities, the increase in pollution is due to the scarcity of rainfall in recent days.

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Chengdu (China), Hanoi, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Seoul on Monday topped the list of the major cities with the highest levels of air pollution, according to Air Visual, a platform that measures air pollution around the world. (IANS)