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OECD rates rising air pollution-death with taking heavy toll on society

Air pollution is costing advanced economies plus China and India an estimated USD 3.5 trilion annually in premature death and ill health, and the costs will rise without government action to limit vehicle emissions, a new OECD Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development report states

In the OECD countries, around half the cost is from road transport, with diesel vehicles producing the most harmful emissions. Traffic exhaust is a growing threat in fast expanding cities in China and India, as the steady increase in the number of cars and trucks on the road undermines efforts to curb vehicle emissions.

OECD Secretary General, Angel Gurria, presenting the report at the International Transport Forum’s 2014 Summit in Leipzig, Germany, he stated: “The price we pay to drive does not reflect the impact of driving on the environment and on people’s health. Tackling air pollution requires collective action.”

The cost of air pollution and health impacts of road transport calculates the cost to society across the OECD’s 34 members at about USD 1.7 trillion, based on the value people attach to not having their lives cut short by cancer, heart disease or respiratory problems. It puts the cost at nearly USD 1.4 trillion in China and nearly USD 0.5 trillion in India.

More than 3.5 million people die each year from outdoor air pollution. From 2005 to 2010, the death rate rose by four percent worldwide, by five percent in China and by 12 percent in India.

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