Air Quality

Published on February 1st, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown


Industrial Air Pollution Cost Europe up to €169 Billion in 2009, EEA Reveals

February 1st, 2012 by  

Smog in Moscow, Russia.

The 10,000 largest polluting facilities in Europe allegedly cost citizens between €102 and €169 billion in 2009. This came from a 2011 report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) of the analysis of the effects of industrial pollution on human health and the environment, and particularly the financial cost of managing those effects. The financial cost of air pollution and global warming, unfortunately, are not usually reported, or even discussed, by mainstream news stations.

Half of the financial cost was incurred by only 191 of the facilities, and it is an estimated €51 to €85 billion. The report is titled, “Revealing the costs of air pollution from industrial facilities in Europe.” Here is a list, from the report, of the facilities that caused the most harm.

“Our analysis reveals the high cost caused by pollution from power stations and other large industrial plants,” Professor Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director, said.

“The estimated costs are calculated using the emissions reported by the facilities themselves. By using existing tools employed by policy-makers to estimate harm to health and the environment, we revealed some of the hidden costs of pollution. We cannot afford to ignore these issues,” added Professor McGlade.

The facilities studied include large power plants, refineries, manufacturing combustion and industrial processes, waste, and some agricultural activities.

The environmental damage caused by the facilities cost each citizen €200-330, and 3/4 of the costs were incurred by only 622 of the industrial facilities, which is only 6.2% of the 10,000 studied. CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions contributed the most to the costs incurred.

Pollutants such as SO2 (sulfur dioxide), NOx (nitrogen oxides), and ammonia, which contribute to respiratory problems, factored into the study as well and were claimed to incur a cost of €38-105 billion annually.

h/t PRNewswire | Photo Credit: Yuri Virovets

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • ML Hayes

    One of the most revealing comment I have ever heard in regards to environmental protection is that Governments do not stand a chance of keeping up with Industry (aka Corporations) when it comes to dancing around the productivity versus profitability issues. When you really think about it, this is as it should be. Governments shouldn’t be knee jerk organizations (Yep, I know, famous last words here). The scope of the interaction has to be a consideration for the direction of the greater community. If a government has purpose and direction, it mustn’t lean to heavily on strictly encouraging the individual to developing personal weal at the expense of those segments of the larger community that are less ambitions, educated, or privileged as a result of preference, discrimination, or inheritance.

    Environmental conditions are greatest common denominators irrespective of social class. They affect the latter category of a given geographic demographic because they are least able to escape the environment for sufficiently long enough periods to allow the body’s natural rejuvenation powers to revive. This is an economic factor that robs the greater community of talent with skills necessary to address the issues of pollution and contamination. What it takes 25 – 35 years to educate and position in an authoritative position that can be trusted to execute on either the public administration or the private initiative bring its own personal health baggage and this is reflected in their elections of residence and occupation.

    This is the situation that we have created and the cure isn’t as much a physical change in the way we produce the energy that drives the production of electricity as it is in the concept of energy as a perception that we have of the role of humans in a global ecology. Let us begin the dialogue.

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