According to a study, the zones cursed by many motorists (there are over 300 in Europe alone) are real life-savers and save millions of euros that would otherwise have been spent on medication.
The study, which was conducted by the climate research institute MCC (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change) in Berlin and can be read in the journal Economics Letters, allows this conclusion. In this study, air quality measurements and the pharmaceutical expenditures of the health insurance company AOK were compared in the period from 2008 to 2013. The result of this empirical study is quite impressive. The senior researcher at the MCC and lead author of the study, Nicolas Koch, was able to show that the introduction of environmental zones in Germany has reduced the concentration of particulate matter with a particle size of PM10 by 5.9 percent on average. As a result, cities with environmental zones have saved 15.8 million euros a year in expenditure on medicines for heart and respiratory diseases. In order to prove the causal effect, statistical disturbing effects such as those caused by the weather and regional economic development have been excluded from the comparison of cities. It is interesting to note that the study only records drug costs and thus only represents a small part of the benefits of environmental zones. In the public health system, drugs account for only about 17 percent of the total costs. Not included in the calculation are expenses for medical care, the enormous effects of premature mortality and also the demonstrably positive effects of better air quality. Thanks to the MCC study, better and more informed decisions can now be made in future decisions on the introduction or tightening of environmental zones.
Is the financing of retrofitting worthwhile? Should a blue sticker for NOx be introduced?
Are more environmental zones more sensible?
The result of this study will only accelerate the expansion and spread of low emission zones - a step in the right direction.