28 April 2015 – A staggering US$ 1.6 trillion is the economic cost of the approximate 600 000 premature deaths and of the diseases caused by air pollution in the WHO European Region in 2010, according to the first-ever study of these costs conducted for the Region. The amount is nearly equivalent to one tenth of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the entire European Union in 2013.
The new study was published today by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as a 3-day high-level meeting on environment and health in Europe opens. Over 200 representatives from European countries and international and nongovernmental organizations gather in Haifa, Israel, on 28–30 April 2015 to look at achievements, gaps and challenges and set future priorities.
Evidence shows that air pollution at current levels in European cities is responsible for a significant burden of deaths, hospital admissions and exacerbation of symptoms. WHO/Europe works to make sure that the available evidence on the health risks of air pollution is used in public debate and in policy-making.
The air we breathe contains emissions from motor vehicles, industry, heating and commercial sources, as well as tobacco smoke and household fuels. Air pollution harms human health, particularly in those already vulnerable because of their age or existing health problems. Continue reading