World

Air pollution costs world $11 billion a day

PARIS: The global cost of air pollution caused by fossil fuels is US$8 billion (S$11 billion) a day, or roughly 3.3 percent of the world's gross domestic product, an environmental research group said yesterday.

The findings from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (Crea) and Greenpeace South-east Asia are the first to assess the global cost of air pollution specifically from burning oil, gas and coal.

"We found that China, the US and India bear the highest costs from fossil fuel air pollution worldwide, an estimated US$900 billion, US$600 billion and US$150 billion a year, respectively," the report said.

PREMATURE DEATHS

Particles from fossil fuel use account for 4.5 million premature deaths each year around the globe, including 1.8 million in China and a million in India, the researchers found.

The new figure is in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates of 4.2 million deaths each year linked to ground-level air pollution, mostly from heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections in children.

"Air pollution from fossil fuels is a threat to our health and our economies that takes millions of lives and costs us trillions of dollars," said clean air campaigner Minwoo Son at Greenpeace East Asia.

"But this is a problem that we know how to solve: by transitioning to renewable energy sources, phasing out diesel and petrol cars, and building public transport," he said.

The most costly pollutant is microscopic fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), which accounts for more than US$2 trilliona year in damages, measured in health impacts, missed work days and years lost to premature death. - AFP

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