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Germany: Thousands of Deaths Attributed to Exhaust Gas Pollution

Thousands of people in Germany die prematurely because of exhaust gas emissions caused by road traffic and other sources. According to a study just released by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), 43,000 individuals died due to ozone and particulate matter (PM) in the air in 2015 alone. Around 13,000 of them deceased because of air pollution caused by road traffic that same year.

In addition, the outcome of the study shows that the societal welfare loss associated with “transportation health damages” in Germany amounted to 97 billion Euro in 2015 (110 billion U.S. Dollars or 83 billion GBP) or 3 percent of the country’s gross national income.

The ICCT conducted the study in cooperation with George Washington University and the University of Colorado in Boulder. Earlier, the same institute contributed to uncovering the Diesel Scandal in Germany.

“Germany had the fourth-highest number of transportation-attributable premature deaths from PM2.5 and ozone pollution among all countries
in 2015″, the ICCT’s study summary reads. PM2.5 is the more dangerous, smaller form of particulate matter. Only China, India and the United Stated had more victims.

It gets worse: Germany’s mortality rate attributable to transportation exhaust emissions was at 17 premature deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 2015. This is the highest rate any major economy had. Actually, it is more than three times the global average and almost 50% above the average within the European Union.

Two thirds of what the study calls “transportation health burden” were contributed by Diesel engines, 14% to international shipping, 13 percent to “non-road mobile sources” and 8% to non-Diesel vehicles.

The outcome of the ICCT’s study directly contradicts recent claims of a number of German lung doctors who had signed a declaration saying particulate matter was not nearly as dangerous as several studies had shown. The entire country had discussed that declaration and the question of driving bans for Diesel vehicles, a few weeks back.

Even more bad news for Germany can be found in the study. The latter evaluated 100 major urban areas. As it turns out three of the six cities with the highest mortality attributed to exhaust emissions are located in Germany. They are Stuttgart, Cologne and Berlin. The non-German cities among the top six are Milan, Turin and Kiev. All of this applies to 2015.

Related article: Germany’s Dieselgate: Fraud, Loopholes and Procrastination