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 user 2005-04-16 at 11:12:00 am Views: 106
  • #8921
    EU pollution deaths cost billions
    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

    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.

    “Measures to reduce the effects of air pollution on health and
    extend life expectancy already exist and work,” said Dr Marc Danzon, WHO
    Regional Director for Europe.

    “The data presented today emphasise that health damage due to
    particulate matter (PM) exposure, its costs for European society, and the
    ability of the current European legislation to reduce this impact, are critical
    arguments for continuing efforts to reduce air pollution.”

    Diesel cars

    Transport and the use of fossil fuels in homes are the major
    contributors to air pollution. Diesel is a particular culprit, providing a hefty
    chunk of all polluting particles.

    Although each country is responsible for much of its own
    pollution, winds and weather systems mean they also get an unhealthy dose from
    other countries.

    “The transboundary nature of PM pollution requires that all
    countries take measures that will benefit the European population,” said Roberto
    Bertollini, Director of the Special Programme on Health and Environment, WHO.

    WHO says plans to manage air quality at the local, regional and
    national levels need to be integrated. Cutting traffic at the local level may
    help reduce the exposure of people living in pollution hotspots, but will not
    help the society as a whole.

    It suggests that people across Europe rely less heavily on
    motorised transport and instead take trains, cycle or walk. People’s attitudes
    need to change, WHO says, and we all need to nurture a commitment to clean air.

    WHO and the European Commission are working together in a new
    long-term strategy known as Clean Air for Europe (CAFE).