World Bank report on air pollution in the Middle East: It costs $141 billion annually
Economy News _ Baghdad
A report from the World Bank stated that air pollution costs the Middle East and North Africa region about $141 billion annually, calling on countries in the region to make their economies "greener."
The World Bank report, seen by Al-Iqtisad News, indicated that the cost of air pollution, in addition to pollution of the seas and coasts, is "estimated at more than 3% of GDP" in some countries in the region, such as Egypt, Lebanon and Yemen.
"Air pollution levels in major cities in the region are among the highest in the world," the report added.
"Productivity drops if residents are unable to work after they or their family members fall ill due to air pollution," the report, titled "Clear Skies and Clear Seas," states, "Health care costs can be a huge burden on individuals and governments."
According to the report, a person residing in the area will spend at least 60 sick days during his life due to air pollution, and that urban residents breathe on average more than 10 times the level of pollutants in the air considered safe by the World Health Organization.
The World Bank noted that "the Mediterranean is among the seas most polluted with plastic in the world," noting that each person in the region throws an average of six kilograms of waste into the sea annually.
The report stressed that sea pollution is linked to coastal erosion, which threatens housing and "livelihoods, especially among poor groups," noting that the estimated direct cost of coastal erosion may reach 2.8% of GDP in some countries whose economy is based on tourism. Like Tunisia.
"Polluted skies and seas are costly to the health, social and economic well-being of millions of people in the Middle East and North Africa region," said World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Ferid Belhaj.
"As countries in the region recover from the Corona pandemic, there is an opportunity to change their course and choose a greener, bluer and more sustainable growth path in order to reduce emissions and reduce environmental degradation," he added.