• France's news in English

Air pollution costs France '€100bn a year'

Oliver Gee · 15 Jul 2015, 11:08

Published: 15 Jul 2015 11:08 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Jul 2015 11:08 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
France and particularly its capital Paris have suffered from worrying spikes in air pollution in recent years and the cost of the problem was laid bare in a Senate report published on Wednesday.
The report spearheaded by Senator Jean-François Husson found that the annual cost of air pollution was €101.3 billion a year, with the vast majority of that sum going towards healthcare. 
Around 42,000 premature deaths each year are put down to France's high air pollution levels, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), not to mention the increase in the number of cancer victims and asthma and allergy sufferers.
Wednesday's report estimated that the annual cost of treating these people, together with the losses of an estimated 650,000 days of work absenteeism, is between €68 billion and €97 billion.
The study, which was carried out over four months and saw over 70 experts consulted, found that a further €4.3 billion was lost through poor crop yields, poor soil quality, and building degradation. It noted, for example, that the recent clean up of the Pantheon in Paris cost €900,000, over ten times the initial estimates.

(Spot the Eiffel Tower. The view over Paris on March 18th, 2015. Photo: AFP)
The authors of the report singled out diesel cars as one of the primary causes of the pollution, suggesting that the best way to tackle the problem was to increase taxes on these vehicles. 
Diesel cars release high levels of nitrogen oxide and fine particulates, which can measure less than 2.5 microns in diameter and can penetrate deep into the lungs and the blood system and can cause cancer.
The report also noted that a five-percent increase in pesticide use between 2009 and 2013 was a strong contributor to the country's unclean air. 
Though the report noted past efforts to battle atmospheric pollution had lowered overall smog levels in France -- especially around industrial sites -- sources like ground transport and heating systems have made the problem more diffuse and present at higher levels in indoor air than before.
The study recommends a range of fiscal policies to encourage use of cleaner technologies, and measures to compliment incomplete or inefficient regulations already in place.
Story continues below…
Pollution in Paris has already caused more than a few headaches this year, with the capital ranked as the most polluted city on earth on one day in March. The city's mayor responded by setting driving restrictions and offering free public transport.
Paris has also moved to ban certain trucks and coaches from the city centre if they are deemed to be polluting.
One study produced last year claimed that the air quality in Paris was so bad that it was the equivalent of being in a room with eight smokers.
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

'New migrants arrive in Calais' despite 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available