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Middle East and North Africa losing $141billion due to air pollution

The report, released by the World Bank, equate to around 2% of the MENA region annual GDP.

Research into the true current cost of emissions in the atmosphere also revealed a disparity between different countries. Some nations, for example Egypt, Lebanon, and Yemen, are more affected than others, with those three losing closer to 3% of gross domestic product.

A key reason for this is poor health. The average resident in the region’s urban areas will be forced to take around 60 days off work in their lifetime due to dirty air. It is also believed those living in cities and towns in this part of the globe will breath in around 10 times the level of pollutants considered safe by the World Health Organisation. 

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“Productivity falls if residents cannot work after they or their family members fall ill from air pollution, and health care costs can be a substantial burden on both individuals and governments,” the report said. 

Low environmental standards across transportation and industrial sectors, including the use of low quality fuel and burning waste, were also identified by the report as major issues. Elsewhere, the Mediterranean is among the most plastic-polluted seas on Earth, with the report outlining there is now ‘as much plastic flowing into [this sea] each year as the volume of fish taken out from the two most commonly caught species.’

Among other things, this sea pollution increases the rate of coastal erosion, which poses a significant threat to livelihoods, ‘especially among the poor’. In response to the findings, the World Bank has urged all countries in the MENA region to focus on a green recovery from the Covid-19 economic crisis.

In related news, Air Quality News recently spoke to Morgan Williams, director and co-producer of Indecent Exposure, a new documentary about the air pollution crisis in London. 

 

Image credit:  Omar Elsharawy

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