Air pollution costs EU citizens an average of €1,250 a year
Share article:
Share article:

Air pollution costs EU citizens an average of €1,250 a year

Credit: EU

The effects of air pollution are costing each person in Europe the sum of €1,250 a year, according to a study carried out by consultancy CE Delft for a group of NGOs.

The study looked at the costs of air pollution in 432 European cities from 30 countries – the 27 member states of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland.

The costs were taken to be direct health care expenditure, and indirect costs, such as the economic cost of diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) as well as the cost of premature death.

The total population of the 432 cities was 130 million people, and the total social costs of pollution €166 billion in 2018.

The cost is not spread evenly over all the cities concerned. London was the most expensive, with total costs for its 8.8 million residents of €11.38 billion, Bucharest came second with costs of €6.35 billion, and Berlin was third with costs of €5.24 billion.

For the year 2018, the average across all European cities was €1,250, or just over €100 a month, equivalent to 3.9% of earnings. Again, the burden is spread unevenly.

In Bucharest, total welfare loss amounted to over €3,000 per capita per year, while in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain it was under €400. In many cities in Bulgaria, Romania and Poland the health-related social costs are between 8-10% of income earned.

In Brussels, the cost amounted to €1,395 in 2018, while pollution in Antwerp cost €1,493.

Most of these costs relate to premature mortality: for the 432 cities investigated, the average contribution of mortality to total social costs is 76.1%,” the study says.

Conversely, the average contribution of morbidity (diseases) is 23.9%.”

The World Health Organisation estimates the number of premature deaths attributable to air pollution in the EU27 plus the UK at more 400,000 for 2018. Other studies suggest that may be an underestimate.

Either way, air pollution globally is considered to be the fourth-highest cause of death, behind high blood pressure, diet and smoking.

Air pollution also kills half a million babies annually in the world in the first month of life, according to another study, most of them in the developing world.

Air pollution derives from a variety of sources: transport, household heating and a range of other activities including agriculture and industry. The relative share of each source did not form part of the study’s remit, although some supplementary information was available on transport.

That allowed the conclusion that a 1% increase in the average journey time to work increases the social costs of particulate emissions by 0.29%, and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions by 0.54%. A 1% increase in the number of cars in a city increases overall social costs by almost 0.5%.

This confirms that reduced commuting and car ownership has a positive impact on air quality, thus reducing the social costs of poor city air quality.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Non-urgent care once again postponed in some hospitals
As the worsening coronavirus situation in Belgium is starting to take its toll on hospitals, it has been confirmed non-urgent care will once again be ...
Brussels Airport warns autumn holidaymakers to arrive early
Passengers leaving from Brussels Airport this autumn have been advised to factor in extra time to account for longer than normal check-in times and ...
27,000 Belgian taxpayers to pay more after incorrect tax break
About 27,000 taxpayers who wrongly received a tax reduction in the last three years due to an error by the tax administration will have to pay what ...
Wallonia launches first major survey for cyclist satisfaction
Following in the footsteps of France and Flanders, the Wallonia Region of Belgium is launching its first major satisfaction survey on municipal ...
After 5 rescues in 2 days, hundreds of migrants take shelter in Italy
After five rescues in less than two days, almost 400 migrants aboard the Geo Barents search and rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean, operated by ...
Belgian wind farm closed down to save migrants floating in sea
A wind farm near Zeebrugge had to be shut down on Wednesday morning as more than 25 migrants had been adrift in its vicinity off the Belgian coast ...
Cinemas will require Covid Safe Ticket from Friday
The Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will be required to attend cinemas across Belgium from Friday, which marks the start of the autumn holidays, the ...
Strong warnings issued ahead of climate change summit
New and updated climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, leaving the world on track for a ...
Disastrous year for Belgian beekeepers
Belgian beekeepers have experienced a disastrous year, with honey production 50 to 60 percent lower than last year due to heavy rainfall during ...
New measures for schools considered as situation becomes ‘untenable’
Belgium's various education partners met on Wednesday to discuss additional measures to implement in schools as the coronavirus situation worsens in ...
Belgium in Brief: Back To Masks
I really hope you didn't throw out all your masks. You'll be needing them again. Now I do appreciate that this isn't a huge change for ...
Belgium a climate slowcoach as EU reveals emissions progress
The European Union is on track to pass its first big climate test, according to new figures published this week. But Belgium has been singled out for ...