The Philippines suffered economic losses of about $27 billion in 2013 due to air pollution, the World Bank said in a report released Thursday.
The Washington-based lender and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation of Washington University said in a report, titled “The Cost of Air Pollution: Strengthening the Economic Case for Action,” the Philippines’s economic losses of $26.758 in 2013 was a sharp rise from $10.356 billion in 1990.
The losses in 2013 accounted for about 4.3 percent of the gross domestic product in the same year.
Air pollution caused losses of $2.77 billion in terms of the forgone labor output and claimed almost 60,000 lives in the same year.
The World Bank said air pollution was a major health risk.
“Air pollution is not just a health risk; it is also an economic burden. By causing illness and premature death, pollution reduces quality of life. By causing a loss of productive labor, pollution also reduces output and incomes in these countries,” the report read.
Latest available estimates show that 5.5 million premature deaths worldwide in 2013, or one in every 10 total deaths, were attributable to air pollution.
“In 2013, as in 1990, air pollution was the fourth leading fatal health risk worldwide, resulting in 4.8 million premature deaths,” the bank said.
Key findings of the study showed that exposure to ambient and household air pollution cost the world’s economy some $5.11 trillion in welfare losses in 2013.
Welfare losses in South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific were the equivalent of 7.4 percent and 7.5 percent of the regional gross domestic product, respectively.
“The fact that global welfare losses from fatal illness attributable to air pollution are in the trillions of dollars, is a call to action,” the WB said.
It said the growing challenge of air pollution despite improvements in health services suggested that incremental progress to improve air quality would not be sufficient, and that achieving real reductions in the cost of pollution would require more ambitious action.