The consequences of air pollution cost Europeans up to €11,361 per person every year.
The medical costs of air pollution are well known. The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) has now published a report that shows the costs of air pollution for 432 major cities in Europe in 2018. The total cost in Europe was around €166 billion.
On average, a Londoner pays a full €11,000 as a result of air pollution. Air pollution can cause ailments such as bronchitis and asthma in particular, but also serious consequences for the heart, circulation and psyche. The study included direct costs of the medical consequences, but also, for example, lost working hours due to air pollution. Particulate matter accounts for the largest share of costs at 82.5%, followed by nitrogen oxide at 15% and ozone at only 2.5%.
The study also analysed 67 French cities. On average, each French citizen pays around 1000 euros per year to combat the effects of air pollution. Paris ranks first among the French cities: a whole €1,600 of the capital's bad air cost the Parisian, with the city paying a total of €3.5 billion. In Germany, too, the average cost is around 1,500 euros. They are highest in Munich with almost 2,000 euros per capita. The city of Berlin pays 5.2 billion euros a year.
With this study, the organisation EPHA wants to create monetary incentives for improving air quality in cities. For example, cities and municipalities would save a tremendous amount of money if air quality were to improve. Even small changes in urban mobility could reduce costs and contribute to the health of citizens. The study also shows that particulate matter is a major problem, as it is by far the largest contributor to costs.
This in turn is bad news for diesel vehicles and could lead to further bans on diesel driving.