For decades now, GDP has been the standard measure of a nation’s well-being. But it is becoming clear that an economic boost may not be accompanied by a rise in individual happiness. While there are many reasons for this, one important factor is that as nations become richer, environmental features such as green space and air quality often come under increasing threat. The mental health benefits of access to parks or waterfronts, for instance, have long been recognised but more recently researchers have also started to look at the role air pollution can play in our general mental health and happiness. With more tangible outcomes such as health, cognitive performance or labour productivity, the adverse effects of poor air are significant and well-established. The link to infant mortality and respiratory disease is well known, and the World Health Organisation estimates that about 7-million deaths are attributable to air pollution each year. However, while many people will die and man...

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