Air Pollution

The Real-World Cost of Air Pollution

Post by  
John Wilton-Davies

Air Pollution doesn't just cost you your health

It can seem that we’re inundated these days with doom and gloom stories about levels of air pollution and how it affects the health of all of us.  But, as in the case of other things that cause us long-term harm, it’s easy to ignore or forget the immediate cause and convince ourselves that it’s all just statistics and, fingers-crossed, we’ll be the lucky ones anyway.
What’s harder to ignore is money.  Air pollution costs,each and every one of us, hard cash.  And not just government money, to introduce legislation, clean-air zones and the such-like, but money out of our own pockets.
Most cases of asthma are caused or exacerbated by pollution. The NHS spends £1.1 billion a year on asthma treatments but a large part of the cost falls on individuals.  Over 4.5 million people in the UK have asthma and, of these, over 2 million have to pay prescription charges of £8.60 a time, averaging over £100 a year per sufferer,and up to £400 for some.  This results in well over a million people a year risking severe symptoms by skipping doses as a cost-saving measure.
It’s relatively easy to assess the cost of asthma treatment, but asthma is just one of a very long list of conditions worsened by air pollution.  Harder to assess, but undoubtedly significant, costs to the individual will include time off work with respiratory illnesses – the average person misses 1.5 days of work a year just through respiratory illnesses – perhaps not the end of the world for an employee in a large company but expensive for the self-employed.
As the damage to our bodies from pollution accumulates over the years so too does the financial cost – doctor’s appointments, hospital visits, medicines, etc.
The Government has stated that a total annual cost of air pollution to the economy of£20.2 billion was ‘probably an under-estimation’.
But there’s one significant cost to the individual that’s avoided the radar until very recently and has come about entirely from the increased public awareness surrounding air pollution.  It’s estimated that two identical houses,varying only in their relative locations to air pollution, can vary in value by as much as 15%.  So in London that could mean a difference of £100,000.
Pollution really does hit you in the wallet.  Properly cleaning the air in a home takes thought, good practice and quality equipment.  But it’s certainly not that expensive.  If the air quality in your home is a worry, and you’re about to buy, or sell, talk to us at Plain Air first...
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