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. China pollution costs 5.8 pct of GDP: report

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 19, 2007
China's pollution woes are costing it about 5.8 percent of GDP each year, much higher than past official Chinese estimates, state press quoted the World Bank as saying Monday.

The costs in absenteeism due to health and other problems total about 100 billion dollars a year, or about 5.8 percent of gross domestic product, Xinhua news agency quoted World Bank China country director David Dollar as saying.

Air pollution alone was costing about 3.8 percent of GDP, Dollar was quoted as saying at an environment forum in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

The figures were based on a World Bank report after a joint assessment of China's horrendous pollution problem carried out with China's environment watchdog, Xinhua said.

China had previously said pollution cost about 3.1 percent of GDP in 2004.

Dollar said the economic impact due to air pollution, especially in large cities, stemmed from higher incidences of lung diseases such as cancer as well as respiratory problems.

China's booming growth has ravaged the environment, with about 70 percent of its waterways polluted and urban air quality among the worst in the world.

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