Tackling air pollution could save Europe €183bn by 2025

9th October 2018


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Uchechukwu Okere

Smog-reduction technologies could save Europe approximately €183bn (£161bn) in health-related costs over the next seven years, according to new research by Deloitte and InnoEnergy.

In a report launched today in Brussels, the two companies outline how innovative transport and heating solutions could help improve air quality and provide savings equivalent to 1.2% of the EU’s annual GDP.

This comes in response to the European Commission finding that smog may account for one in every 10 premature deaths around the world, and could cost the EU a whopping €475bn between 2018 and 2025.

The technologies analysed that could help cut these costs include smart public transport systems, smart buildings, distributed energy generation and storage, and electro mobility.

Speaking at the report’s launch, former president of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, said: “Smog is one of the most critical public health concerns of the century.

“The report offers practical solutions that could help improve our citizens’ health and that could benefit the whole society. We must start implementing it throughout the EU without any delay.”

The estimated health costs outlined in the new research relate to premature deaths, rising healthcare bill, protracted illnesses, absences, and lower on-the-job productivity.

Up to 90% of Europeans living in cities are exposed to unsafe levels of toxic air, according to the report, despite the fact that there have been decreases in industrial pollution since 1990.

In Western Europe this typically originates from transportation, while heating is the main source of smog in eastern countries, with young people always among the worst affected.

The report suggests that cooperation between the private and public sector will be key to tackling the problem, but that public awareness will also be crucial if people are to accept policies like congestion charges.

“In general, there is a direct correlation between education and concern about the environment,” the report states. “Citizens are more likely to take action on air pollution if other direct benefits are emphasised.”

Image credit: InnoEnergy

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