WHO: New limits on particle pollution will save billions
- Particle pollution limits "will save billions"
Environment Daily 1861, 18/04/05
European countries will gain very large health and
associated financial benefits by controlling fine
particle air pollution in line with limits set in a
1999 EU directive, the World Health Organisation (WHO)
said on 14 April.
According to the UN body, particle pollution -
especially the finest 2.5 micron fraction - reduces
life expectancy across the EU by an average of 8.6
months. Implementing the EU limit on particles up to
10 microns (PM10) that entered full effect in January
will save 2.3 months of life, it calculates.
"This is the equivalent of preventing 80,000 premature
deaths and saving over 1m years of life in the EU",
Who said. It put the financial benefits of decreased
mortality at beweeen â¬58bn and â¬161bn per year,
plus â¬29bn for reduced diseases (sorry about bad
formatting, see sources below for correct figures)
The agency's intervention comes amid increasing signs
that some EU countries are struggling to comply with
the directive. In Germany, PM10 several cities are
already in breach of obligations, fuelling a furious
political debate (ED 01/04/05).
Appropriately, in these circumstances, Who launched
its findings in Berlin. In Germany, it said,
implementing the EU limit will save 2.7 months of life
for the German population, preventing 17,000 premature
deaths (with financial benefits of EURO 13-34bn) and
over 240,000 years of life (saving EURO 6bn through
lower disease costs).
The agency is to repeat this first national
"elaboration" of the EU-wide health and cost estimates
for other countries in due course, a spokesperson told
Environment Daily. Figures for Italy should be
published in May, she said.
This is not the first time Who has costed the impacts
of fine particle pollution, or even of the EU
directive. In 2002 it estimated that implementing the
2005 limit would prevent nine premature deaths per
100,000 population annually (ED 04/11/02). Last year
it attributed up to 6.4% of all child deaths in Europe
to fine particle pollution (ED 21/06/04).
Who Europe office
Particle Free Network
Do you Yahoo!?
Plan great trips with Yahoo! Travel: Now over 17,000 guides!