The Many Benefits of Investing in Clean Air

The Many Benefits of Investing in Clean Air
Air pollution is an issue that demands increasing attention as much of the world sees worsening air quality - especially during the summer months. As the Canada wildfires of 2023 have highlighted, air pollution is an issue that impacts us all, regardless of how healthy we are.

A recent article published in The Conversation discusses why air pollution is an urgent threat that needs action. While the article focuses on Australia, many reasons ring true for countries worldwide, especially those also impacted by wildfires.

In Australia, poor air quality leads to more than 3200 deaths per year. These deaths cost the country 6.2 billion AUD annually - not an insignificant amount. On top of that, just in the wildfire season of 2019 and 2020, wildfire smoke caused 400 deaths and 4500 hospitalisations. While we don’t know the impact in North America, we will likely see even greater numbers.

Besides the deaths directly linked to air pollution, what are the other reasons to invest in clean air? Well, the article dives into more detail, but to summarise the reasons, they are:

  • Air pollution increases non-communicable diseases and makes communicable diseases worse
  • Air quality affects our health throughout life
  • Air pollution adds to health inequities
  • Climate change and pollution make each other worse
  • Clean-air policies have many co-benefits
  • The impacts of air pollution are increasing
  • Economic costs are high and underestimated
  • Return on investment is high
  • Small improvements produce large gains

While the study focuses on Australia, these benefits carry over to cities, regions, states, and countries that also improve their air pollution. With this many benefits, improving air quality can’t be overlooked.


Read more on The Conversation.

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