Air pollution from the 10,000 largest polluting facilities in Europe cost citizens between €102 billion and €169 billion ($137 billion-$226 billion) in 2009, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).
The organisation analysed the “costs of harm to health and the environment” caused by air pollution in the study, Revealing the costs of air pollution from industrial facilities in Europe, which says that every European citizen incurred costs of around €200 to €330 for air pollution generated by the facilities covered in the study.
The costs of harm to health include hospital admissions, consultations and restricted activity days whereas the environmental impact include crop yield losses and degradation of stone and metalwork
“We cannot afford to ignore these issues,” said Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of EEA.
The estimated costs are calculated using the emissions reported by the facilities in the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) and the results illustrate that half of the total damage cost was caused by just 191 facilities. The emissions of 622 industrial facilities, or 6% of the total, made up three quarters of the costs.
Energy and environmental consultancy AEA, in partnership with Ecometrics, Research, Consulting and Spadaro Environmental Research Consultants, developed the methodology for analysing the data in the report.
“This methodology has, for the first time, provided a way of quantifying, in economic terms, the harm caused by emissions reported in the E-PRTR,” said AEA senior consultant Anne Misra.
The EEA analysis covers large power plants, refineries, fuel combustion and industrial processes, waste and certain agricultural activities. Emissions from power plants contributed to the largest share of the damage costs, estimated at between €66 billion and €112 billion.
Industrial production processes also generated substantial costs, contributing between €23 billion and €28 billion, and the cost of fuel combustion incurred between €8 billion and €21 billion.
Germany contributed most to the total, followed by other countries with a high number of large facilities, such as Poland, the UK, France and Italy.
Out of the different types of emissions, carbon dioxide is the biggest single contributor costing approximately €63 billion.
By. Elza Holmstedt Pell
Source: Environmental Finance