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Air Pollution Deaths Cost Global Economy Trillions

September 9, 2016
Public Health

A new study by the World Bank has put the annual cost of indoor and outdoor air pollution to the global economy at a staggering $5.1 trillion. The research, which was undertaken in partnership with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle, found that 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to the effects of poor air quality.

Air pollution is now the fourth leading cause of premature deaths across the globe being responsible for six times as many fatalities as malaria. Leaving aside the cost of treating conditions related to poor air quality, the bank calculated that in 2013, the latest year statistics are available for, premature deaths cost the global economy $225 billion in lost working days.

“This report and the burden of disease associated with air pollution are an urgent call to action,” said Dr. Chris Murray, Director of IHME. “Of all the different risk factors for premature deaths, this is one area, the air we breathe, over which individuals have little control. Policy makers in health and environment agencies, as well as leaders in various industries, are facing growing demands – and expectations – to address this problem.” Figures based on 2013 suggest that China lost 10% of its GDP due to the costs of air pollution, while the cost to the UK economy was estimated to be $7.6 billion (£5.6 billion).

You can download a full copy of the World Bank report HERE.