The Astonishing Cost of Air Pollution that You May Not Know
Air pollution can impact your health and shorten your lifespan. Regardless of your age, pollution in the air can lead to much suffering and pain. It also affects food production, which can be a problem due to overpopulation on this planet.
Whether it is indoors or outdoors, air pollution exists. For instance, it is evident in smog from coal-fired cooking stoves. This is an even bigger problem since your entire household is breathing polluted air. With the rise of commercialism, air pollution outdoors also became worse. More diseases are manifesting in the population because of the toxic air people breathe each day.
The good news is the availability of cleaner technologies to help solve the problem of air pollution. The only thing that holds back the implementation of these technologies is the inaction of policymakers. They are not quite keen on allotting a certain budget to implement an effective way to enhance air quality. This is not helping the environment since the fast pace of economic growth causes the rapid rise of particulate matter in the air. In decades to come, air pollutant emissions could lead to serious problems with the quality of air we breathe.
The OECD released a report, The Economic Consequences of Outdoor Air Pollution, which estimates about six to nine million deaths every year by 2060 due to outdoor air pollution. This is double or triple the statistics of premature deaths caused by air pollution in 2010. According to researchers, this new study states that one person dies every four to five seconds because of toxic air in the environment. In the next 45 years, air pollution will cause over 200 million people to die prematurely.
Several illnesses linked with air pollution are also observed each year. By 2060, there will be about 36 million expected cases of bronchitis among children. As for adults suffering from bronchitis, the number could go up to 10 million in the same year. The number of hospital admissions caused by asthma could also reach up to 11 million.
Areas affected with a high level of PM concentration can suffer from these health concerns, such as India and China. The mortality rate will also increase in South Korea, the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and numerous Asian nations.
Aside from the health issue caused by air pollution, so much money is lost. Since pollution in the air leads to diseases and deaths, business productivity can decrease. About 3.75 billion business days will be lost by 2060 if the problem with air pollution remains unsolved. With lower productivity and higher spending on medical care, this will cost about $2.6 trillion a year in 2060.
It is worth noting that the overall cost of damages from air pollution is more than the dollar figures presented. There is no market price for premature deaths caused by inhaling toxic gases or the number of diseases linked to air pollution. The same goes for the difficult experience of having to wear a face mask or being forced to inhale polluted air.
Although the problem with air pollution continues to rise, policymakers are more concerned about the cost of solving the problem than the positive effect it will bring to the public. This is why the OECD conducted extensive studies to show that air pollution also affects a nation’s economy. As people get sicker or die younger, the economy also suffers.
It will be possible to set up more businesses, though, and highly competent and healthy individuals can make the economy rise again.
On a global scale, premature deaths related to air pollution could cost as much as $25 trillion annually by 2060. By setting policies that will target and solve the problem of outdoor pollution, the numbers will decrease. Thus, it is time for the government to prioritize cleaning the air. No matter how much it may cost to stop air pollution, something must be done to prolong people’s lives. After all, a country’s success also depends on a thriving economy built by people in good health.