Air Pollution Costs Trillions and Holds Back Poor Countries, Says World Bank

A new study from the World Bank finds that air pollution could cost the world more than $5 trillion annually in lost work days and welfare costs, with a devastating impact on the world's poorest countries.

A major new study from the World Bank finds that air pollution costs the world trillions each year, and severely impedes development in many countries, John Vidal reports for The Guardian.

The report, a comprehensive study of the economic costs of indoor and outdoor pollution, found that in 2013 (the year from which the latest available estimates date) China lost nearly 10% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), India 7.69% and Sri Lanka and Cambodia roughly 8%.

Drawing on data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Vidal reports, the bank said that air pollution now kills 5.5m people a year prematurely, or one in 10 people worldwide.

The report found that premature deaths in 2013 cost the global economy about $225 billion in lost work days. That global total rose to more than $5 trillion a year when welfare costs (what people are prepared to pay to avoid dying from air pollution) are factored in.

Read the full report, “The Cost of Air Pollution: Strengthening the Economic Case for Action,” here

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