Outside the OECD, figures portray a grimmer tale. Globally, premature deaths from ambient air pollution have risen by 4% over the same time period. In China, there has been a 5% increase in the already high number of 1,215,180 deaths, with 64,000 new cases. India reported an even sharper increase of 12% from over 620,000 deaths. Indeed, China and India account for more than half of the economic costs of pollution-related health grievances worldwide. According to the OECD, the 3.4 million deaths worldwide in 2010 represent an estimated US$3.5 trillion dollars in expenses and lost productivity across OECD countries plus China and India.
Across the developing world, growing levels of traffic far outpace the implementation of stricter emission controls. Governments can help reduce the death toll by adopting tax and regulatory policies that address diesel and petrol emissions.
© OECD Observer No 299, Q2 2014