When pollution levels are very high, the damage caused by pollution is also very high. Illness due to pollution in severely polluted areas can account for billions of dollars in lost productivity, added health care costs, wildlife loss, poor visibility, reduced recreational opportunities, and overall reduced well being. Even small reductions (abatement) in pollution, when levels are very high, can yield great benefits in improved health and well being.
When pollution levels are low, the problems caused by pollution are far less severe. Because low levels of pollution cause fewer problems, further reduction also generates fewer benefits.
Clearly then the Marginal Benefit of Abatement (MBA) is falling. The less pollution, or the more abatement, the smaller the added benefits of further abatement, or reduction. If we graph the MBA, it will be downward sloping.
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