Azara Blog: Save billions by cutting pollution

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Date published: 2005/04/15

The BBC says:

The European Union could save up to 161 billion euros a year by reducing deaths caused by air pollution, the World Health Organization has said.

Air pollution reduces the life of the average European by 8.6 months.

The toxic particles in pollution increase deaths from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and the price of treating these ailments is costly.

However, EU plans to cut pollution by 2010 should on average save 2.3 months of life for each European, WHO says.

This is the equivalent of preventing 80,000 premature deaths and saving over one million years of life across the European Union.

As of today there was no information on the WHO website as to how they did their sums, but 161 billion Euros sounds unbelievable. It had better be net the costs of reducing the pollution, otherwise the number is meaningless. And isn't it amazing that the governments of the EU are so stupid as to not accept a cheque written for 161 billion Euros staring at them in the face.

There is this fetish amongst the health professionals of the world to maximise lifespan, as if that is all that counts. Which is better, to live 83 years and have a decent job until you are 65, or to live to 83 years, 8 months and 15 days and be made redundant at age 50 because your job has been exported to China? The EU has shown itself to be remarkably good at exporting jobs, and this kind of narrow focus on health and safety at all cost is part of the problem. Being unemployed is more of a health risk than the amount of air (and other) pollution that now exists in most of the EU (at least in the western part).

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