Air pollution to kill 21,000 in Canada this year, cost $10 bn

August 14th, 2008 - 2:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Aug 14 (IANS) Air pollution will be responsible for 21,000 deaths in Canada this year and cost the government $10 billion, says a new study. The study called National Illness Cost of Pollution, released by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Wednesday, said that 21,000 Canadians will die this year alone because of air pollution.

The CMA said the future predictions for the country are worse.

It is estimated that between now and 2031 about 710,000 Canadians will die because of long-term exposure to air pollution.

Shockingly, the death toll from air pollution works out to be almost three percent of the total population of the country now.

CMA president Brian Day said: “We have a serious home-grown problem of our own and we will all pay a price if we ignore it,”

Highlighting its economic impact because of worker absenteeism, higher health care costs and other factors, the study said air pollution will cost Canada more than $10 billion this year alone.

The cumulative total between now and 2031 will be more than $300 billion, it added.

According to the study, the majority of deaths will be among Canadians older than 65.

“The ageing of Canada’s population combined with the vulnerability of those over 65 due to underlying illnesses such as heart disease probably account for the increasing numbers of deaths during the later decades of the projection,” the study added.

The CMA president said: “Essentially, we’ve provided a roadmap for policy-makers about where we stand in terms of air quality. They can choose one of two routes: act now to improve air quality, or reap the consequences by failing to do so.

“With this report we’re going on record and saying that those consequences will be severe.”

Coal-fired power plants in Ontario province and the oil sands of Alberta are said to be one the major causes of pollution.

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