OECD: Air Pollution Increasing Problem For Estonia ({{commentsTotal}})

An air pollution monitoring station
An air pollution monitoring station Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

New data collected by the OECD indicates that air pollution is an increasing problem in Estonia, and contributed to 538 deaths in 2010.

This is an increase from 2005 figures that show that 191 deaths were caused by airborne particulates, biological molecules, or other harmful materials in the atmosphere. Estonia is bucking the overall trend, as the number of deaths fell 4 percent in countries between 2005-10 that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

It also clashes with a World Health Organization report from 2013 that found Estonia had the cleanest urban air in the world. In that case, the small sample size - there are only 1-2 cities in Estonia - did undercut that study's compehensiveness.   

The OECD report indicates that more than 3.5 million people a year are killed globally by air pollution in OECD countries, far more than was previously estimated.

But while 20 of the 34 OECD countries measured achieved progress, 14 did not, Estonia included. Finland also saw an increase (450), but of only 48 deaths from its 2005 figure (402).

The OECD estimates that outdoor air pollution is costing Estonia the equivalent of 1.21 billion US dollars in costs to prevent its citizens from dying prematurely from dirty air, up from 255 million dollars in 2005. The report estimates half of the pollution is due to pollution caused by road transport.

The report estimates the cost at 1.57 trillion dollars for OECD countries, and 1.7 trillion if the years of illness are factored in.

The report suggests that strong regulatory regimes are needed, particularly with stricter vehicle standards, and it makes positive mention of the regulatory and tax settings that facilitated the shift to diesel vehicles.

You can read the report and its conclusions here.