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Fighting pollution in China, key to greater economic growth

Pollution in China affects the productivity of workers, so its reduction by 1% with measures that do not imply reducing industrial production would allow an increase annual 0.079% in the country's GDP, according to a study released today by Chinese universities.

Beijing, Nov 28 (EFE) .- Pollution in China affects the productivity of workers, so that its reduction by 1% with measures that do not imply to reduce industrial production would allow an annual increase of 0.079% in the country's GDP, according to a study released today by Chinese universities.

"Reducing pollution is good for health, but also for productivity, "said Professor of Strategy and Economics at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), Brian Viard, at a meeting with journalists in Beijing, where He insisted on the economic profitability of the fight against pollution.

Although usually the problem of pollution is usually approached from a sanitary point of view, this The report, prepared by the CKGSB and the universities of Xiamen and Polytechnic of Hong Kong, focuses on the effects of pollution on employee productivity and its consequences for the economy.

In China, many workers are absent from their jobs due to serious health problems that, directly or indirectly (family diseases), cause them to lose their jobs. poor air quality, which can cause decreased lung function, irregular heartbeat, increased respiratory problems and chest angina.

In addition, affects your ability cognitive, because it has psychological effects that alter their performance and increases their anxiety.

This, explained Viard, causes many veteran employees to have to be replaced by others are younger and inexperienced, which prevents them from acquiring full experience for highly qualified positions.

In fact, the investigation revealed that the workers, especially the highly qualified, abandon the most contaminated areas in the long term to avoid health problems.

Taking into account all these factors, the reduction of PM 2.5 particles (less than 2.5 microns, the smallest and most harmful to health), would have a positive impact on the economy of all companies.

In an attempt to combat the high levels of pollution, the Chinese authorities have set themselves the objective to reduce between October this year and March 2018 by at least 20% year-on-year the PM particle level 2,5 in the zone formed by the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei regions, the most polluted in the country.

To achieve this, companies have been reviewed to verify that more respectful standards are met with the environment, as well as the closure of some factories to reduce their emissions which, together with that of vehicles, are one of the main causes of pollution atmospheric.

Consultants like Capital Economics have warned that these government measures against pollution will cause a slowdown of 1% in industrial production and 0.5% of GDP growth during the winter.

Therefore, Viard insisted that the closure of factories is not among the measures analyzed in the study to reduce pollution and encouraged the authorities to take other actions that do not imply a reduction in industrial production.

"This could include the reduction of other sources of pollution such as road dust, automobile exhaust and power generation, "he said.

The report states that for every 1% reduction in air pollution that is get through such measures would increase the total value added in all companies by 11.8 billion yuan per year (1,500 million euros) which represents 0.079% of the Chinese GDP.

Although the study focuses on the manufacturing sector, the experts pointed out that the decrease in PM 2.5 particles would also improve productivity in other countries. sectors, such as services.

"It can be said that productivity in the services sector would also improve if pollution is reduced," said the researcher at the Chinese Economy and Business, Anke Schrader.

In this regard, he pointed out that many workers, like delivery workers, work outdoors and without masks for many hours, so that their exposure to air degradation is very high.

Therefore, they urged companies to invest in the protection of their workers against pollution, as it is not only an question of health, but of "great economic benefits".

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