As many as two-thirds of European cities exceed the air pollution standards set by the World Health Organization. Now the European Alliance for Public Health (EPHA) has published the results of research on how much air pollution costs in European metropolises.
The EPHA study calculated the approximate monetary value of the losses a city had suffered from deaths, treatment, lost working days and other consequences of air pollution. Researchers used Eurostat data on city demographics and environmental pollution. EPHA analyzed the costs of air pollution for inhabitants of 432 cities, taking into account all 27 countries of the European Union as well as Great Britain, Norway and Switzerland.
"The study shows how enormous the impact of air pollution on human health is and how deep the inequalities in this matter are between European countries," Sascha Marschang, EPHA Secretary General, said.
The inhabitants of London pay the largest amount of money related to air pollution – over €11.3 billion a year. 78 percent of this sum are costs related to deaths and the remainder to diseases caused by air pollution. The cost per one Londoner is almost €1,300 per year.
The inhabitants of Bucharest pay the largest annual amount for air pollution among EU cities – €6.3 billion, i.e. as much as 7.5 percent of Romania's GDP. Due to the much smaller number of inhabitants, Bucharest is, however, at the top of the table in terms of costs per capita. Environmental pollution per capita in the Romanian capital is just over €3,000. Berlin ranks third in terms of total costs for cities, with annual costs estimated at €5.2 billion and €1,500 per capita.
The capital of Poland is in fourth position. Warsaw pays €4.2 billion annually for environmental pollution, i.e. over PLN 19.3 billion. That's 5.5 percent of Polish GDP. For a single Varsovian, this means a cost of over €2,400, or PLN 11,200. Two places lower is the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union, whose polluted air costs €3.6 billion annually, i.e. over PLN 16.5 billion. The cost per capita is approx. €1,900, or PLN 8,700.