In an effort to increase awareness (and instigate action) of ways pollution is infiltrating and affecting human lives, a recent study was conducted by The World Bank in conjunction with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), entitled Air Pollution: Strengthening the Economic Case for Action.
The analysis highlighted the extreme toll the impurities in our air are having on economies and human health worldwide.
Researchers compiled data from many sources, including that from a 2013 World Health Organization report. The research studied the dollar amounts spent on health emergencies, missed work/ unemployment subsidies, and long-term illnesses/ chronic conditions.
The study concluded that air pollution is the fourth-leading health risk in the world (behind metabolic risks, dietary risks, and smoking); having attributed to one in ten fatalities in 2013. In more specific terms, breathing in pollution increases a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, pneumonia, and chronic bronchitis.
Researchers have found that the USA alone loses roughly 45 billion dollars every year due to premature deaths attributed to air pollution. Meanwhile China, one of the most rapidly developing nations in the world, is losing 10% of its overall GDP. Unsurprisingly, the study has found that the more developed a nation is – coupled with a high population – the harder the impact pollution has on the residents.
Worldwide, the study found that in 2013, “premature deaths due to air pollution cost the global economy $225 billion in lost labor income, and about $5.11 trillion in welfare losses.”
If our governments seem generally unaffected by the extreme concern of pollutants on the environment due to money, maybe they will start to take action now that they can see the consequences on their wallets.