Research by the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency puts the cost to society of environmental damage caused by mainly airborne pollution at €31bn, or 4.5% of gross domestic product.
‘Despite efforts over the past 50 years, various environmental problems are still having an impact on society,’ the researchers say.
It is also notable that 98% of the damage is caused by emissions into the air, including carbon-dioxide, methane, ammonia and sulphur-dioxide, the researchers say.
Traffic and transport are responsible for the bulk of the damage, accounting for €12bn of the total bill. Agriculture is in second place with €6.5bn, of which half is ammonia released in factory farming. Industry and refining account for €4.5bn and the energy sector €4bn.
Consumers cause damage to the environment put at €1.75bn.
‘A shift to other sources of energy for industry and recycling will help reduce the pressure,’ the report said. ‘More effective green taxes on the major sources of environmental damage and most polluting production processes would be a suitable measure to encourage this.’
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