Wood-Fueled Home Appliances Hugely Impact Health Costs

The Earth is battling various kinds of pollution, and the situation gets more complicated every year. As the planet continues to experience a breakdown, it’ll gravely affect all inhabitants. The problem is affecting not just one part of the Earth but the whole ecosystem.

Photo: Pixabay/TF3000

Air pollution is still on the rise. As the world progresses, the amount of air-contaminating factors increases as well. Air quality plays a vital role in a human’s life, especially in health. Exposure to polluted air can lead to heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory illnesses such as asthma. The planet Earth won’t be the only one suffering, but also the rest of humanity.

One of the most significant contributors to air pollution is wood-burning appliances. Apparently, over 1.5 million wood-burning stoves are in the UK alone — this type of appliance provides heat and sometimes food for its users. Although wood-burning devices serve their purpose, the home appliance strongly affects the user’s health and surroundings. Smoke from burning wood emits various particles and gases that are harmful to the human lungs.

Photo: Pxhere

Wood-burning appliances do not just affect human health but also the economy. The UK and EU reportedly spend €17 billion a year — due to the health issues caused by wood-burning appliances. Economists from a Netherlands-based consultancy firm called CE Delft studied the data from Eurostat. CE Delft’s economist Marisa Korteland and her colleagues used the data to figure out the amount of pollution in the air from heating and cooking with wood-burning appliances.

Marisa Korteland stated, “It’s really important to take the health impacts of air pollution into account.”

After analyzing the health risks from a 2013 study by the World Health Organization, they concluded that the costs include the healthcare and social costs of increasing illness rates, as well as untimely death.

Photo: Pixnio/Cade Martin, Dawn Arlotta, USCDCP

Contamination from fossil fuels and wood-burning is almost as high as residential transport pollution, and wood-burning health costs have reached €27 billion a year, whereas residential transport costs €36 billion.

Each household with a wood-burning stove has an average health cost of €750. Korteland also added that driving a diesel car only costs €210 in yearly healthcare costs. Using a gas boiler, €30. For this reason, country residents are highly encouraged to use boilers for heat pumps instead. The air pollution from making heat could decrease almost to zero, mainly when people start to use electricity from non-biomass and non-fossil fuel sources.

Photo: Pixabay/ybernardi

The team also discussed how the costs are underestimated since they do not include indoor air pollution. Homes that use wood or fossil fuel appliances are exposed to high levels of air pollution. The estimated costs for each home depend on certain factors. Calculating air contamination per household is based on ventilation and the number of times people cook or use their stoves daily.

Critics dislike Europe’s advocacy of using renewable energy because it isn’t genuinely sustainable and only further harms biodiversity. Korteland and her team will lead the study under the European Public Health Alliance to determine what the best course of action is.

Air pollution and all sorts of contaminants that affect the Earth continue to rise, causing a severe domino effect. As residents of this planet, our purpose lies in maintaining a good quality environment. What we give to the Earth goes back to us. Take action even in small gestures — and continue to work to persuade large companies to participate in this goal to preserve life on the green planet.

Written by Ergil Ermeno

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