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Environmental Health Costs in Colombia : The Changes from 2002 to 2010

2014-06, Golub, Elena, Klytchnikova, Irina, Sanchez-Martinez, Gerardo, Belausteguigoitia, Juan Carlos

Despite considerable progress in the area of environmental management over the last decade, Colombia still faces significant impacts from population exposure to urban air pollution, inadequate access to water supply and sanitation, and indoor air pollution from solid fuel use. This study estimates that the total health cost attributable to these three factors amounts to about 10.2 trillion Colombian Pesos (COP) annually, or about 2 percent of GDP in 2010. In terms of mortality, about 7,600 annual premature deaths can be attributed to these environmental factors. This study updates some of the estimates of environmental health costs reported in the 2005 Colombia Country Environmental Analysis environmental priorities and poverty reduction . Specific policy recommendations and targeted interventions can be derived from future analysis of environmental health costs at subnational level, cost-benefit analysis of specific policy interventions, and an analysis of the burden of health costs disaggregated by population groups and poverty levels. Disaggregated statistics on health outcomes, fuel use, and access to infrastructure services, epidemiological studies, and air quality models (urban and industrial areas) are required for such analysis. Disaggregated assessments and cost benefit analysis, recommended for future studies, will facilitate an evaluation of policy and investment outcomes in terms of their impacts on the most vulnerable groups and the extent to which they are well targeted and benefit the poor.