Australian deaths related to air pollution increased 68% between 2005 and 2010 to 1483, according to an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report, The cost of air pollution: Health impacts of road transport.
For a western country that is considered progressive and environmentally conscious, this statistic would horrify many Australians.
Despite most other major international economies seeing a decline in their death rates, Australia was in the minority, along with 14 other countries, in the world see death rates increase.
The report found the cost of death and illness, caused by air pollution for OECD countries, to have reached $US1.7 trillion in 2010, with evidence suggesting road transport was probably responsible for about half of the cost.
Australia’s cost was about $5.8 billion in 2010, up from $2.9 billion just five years earlier.
The report’s executive summary concluded:
“Governments should maintain strong regulatory regimes, particular strict vehicle standards. Given the size of the economic cost of the health effects of air pollution, the benefits of reducing that burden could easily outweigh the monetary cost of investments in more ambitious programmed to reduce pollution.
“Governments should also rethink their approach to appraising policy moves, such as the regulatory and tax settings that facilitated the shift to diesel fuel.”
Here is a look at the cost of air pollution from all 34 of the countries surveyed.
Read the full report here.