A study quantifies the cost of premature deaths, treatment or sick leave linked to air pollution in cities in the EU.

Image of the Cuatro Torres de Madrid under an intense cloud of pollution.

Air pollution costs Spain 926 euros per citizen per yearAccording to a study published this Wednesday by the European Health Alliance association that quantifies premature deaths, medical treatments or sick leave linked to microparticles, ozone or NO2.The study, which examines 432 cities in the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland, with a total of 130 million inhabitants, establish that air pollution represents an average additional cost of 385 million euros per city per year and a total of 166,000 million euros per year. year, with data from 2018.The European average per citizen stands at 1,250 euros per year, which represents 3.9% of city revenues, they add.The per capita incidence varies depending on the locality, with a tendency to higher amounts in large cities with a lot of pollution, high population density Y higher wages.

By cities

In the case of Spain, according to the cities analyzed by the European Health Alliance (EPHA), the higher cost per inhabitant corresponds to Barcelona, ​​with 1,256 euros and followed by Guadalajara (1,183), Madrid (1,169), Coslada (1,033), La Coruña (1,033), Palma de Mallorca (1,024), Toledo (970), Leganés (959), Talavera de la Reina (956) and Logroño (922).They are followed by Bilbao, with 917 euros per year per inhabitant, San Sebastián (858), Valencia (849), Valladolid (838), Gijón (827), Santander (818), Zaragoza (790), Pamplona (765), León (671 ), Badajoz (593), Zamora (593) and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (382).However, in absolute terms and because it has a larger population, the higher overall cost corresponds to Madrid, with more than 3,383 million euros a year, while the aggregate data for Barcelona stands at 2,020 million euros per year.The analysis is based on a “robust methodology” supported by “numerous studies” by environmental economists to attributing a monetary value to the social costs of air pollution adopted in the study with 16 health factors that can be measured, indicates the association that prepares the report, of which the Spanish Heart Foundation is a part.

“Subsequently, the physical impacts were monetized using a valuation framework developed in the Peer-reviewed External Costs Manual published by the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission,” they add. These social costs were then specifically determined in each locality based on the local pollution levels and the size and structure of the municipality in terms of age or standard of living.

At European level

The cities with the highest costs related to poor air quality, according to the study, are London (€ 11,380 million per year), Bucharest (6,350 million) and Berlin (5,340 million).The size of cities, The study points out, it has a direct impact on costs, so that the 25 municipalities with the greatest “losses” are towns with more than one million inhabitants.“To a large extent, the situation can be influenced by transport policies and cities can reduce costs by switching to the zero emission urban mobility“Said the Secretary General of the EPHA, Sascha Marschang.Air pollution is responsible for more than 400,000 premature deaths per year in the European Union, according to the European Commission.