Air pollution causes one in eight deaths around the world and exacts an “enormous economic cost” of $1.7 trillion per year in advanced economies, according to Rana Roy, a consulting economist for the OECD and the World Health Organization.
The toll includes seven million deaths per year around the world, including 1.2 million in China, more than 600,000 in India, and 500,000 in OECD countries, Roy tells SciDevNet.
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“China and India are going through a phase of industrialization that is as deep as that achieved by western societies in the 19th century, but at a far, far faster rate,” he says. “Victorian England grew by 1.5% per year. China has been growing at 10% per year.” While “this is a major event in human history,” it means that “China and India are suffering from air pollution much more than the countries of the west,” and the health impact “imposes an enormous economic cost on society.”
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