A new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found that outdoor air pollution could cost the global economy $2.6 trillion a year by 2060.
Urging for action to be taken, the OECD examined the economic consequences of air pollution and discovered that it would cost approximately 1 per cent of gross domestic product by 2060.
Examining all sides of the issue, researchers found that economic cost would rise in relation to annual healthcare bills ($176 billion by 2060) and lost work days (rising from 1.2 billion to 3.2 billion).
Additionally, air pollution would also have detrimental effects on the ability to produce enough food for the world’s growing population, with crop yields expected to take a significant hit in the coming decades.
In 2010 outdoor air pollution was found to be the cause of 3 million premature deaths, but it is expected that the number could double or even triple by 2060 unless action is taken.
Simon Upton, OECD environment director said that:
The number of lives cut short by air pollution is already terrible and the potential rise in the next few decades is terrifying.
“If this is not motivation enough to act, this report shows there will also be a heavy economic cost to not taking action.”
The report was also able to highlight which countries would face the greatest difficulties with India, China, Russia, Korea, and other central Asian countries found to be amongst those under the greatest threat.
Last month an EU pact agreed to greater cooperation amongst member countries to tackle the air pollution present in some of Europe’s biggest cities.
Part of the pact agreed to give local cities more control in how they moderated air pollution, something called for in the OECD report, saying that, “there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for reducing impacts of air pollution as there are large differences among countries in terms of prevalent pollutants and sources.”
In other news, experts have warned that the UK leaving the EU could worsen the air pollution crisis that blights many UK cities.
The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) polled its membership and found that over half consider EU air pollution rules essential to environmental rules. Another third said that they considered the rules useful.
Out of the 1,200 professionals polled, only 4 per cent stated that air pollution rules would get better if the country voted itself out of the EU on June 23.