Saturday, October 16

“Every increase in pollution levels is associated with an increase in mortality”

An image of the Cuatro Torres, in Madrid.

An image of the Cuatro Torres, in Madrid.

Breathing polluted air it is “the greatest environmental threat to human health.” This is the diagnosis of the World Health Organization (WHO) on a problem of global scope that, at the moment, puts at risk both the health of the planet and the well-being of people: Emission of polluting gases. At this point, no one doubts that air pollution is a danger. The debate is on how to stop its advance. For this reason, this Thursday the European Center for Environment and Health of the WHO has organized an event to ‘to unlock political conversations about this problem.

As explained by the researcher Michał Krzyżanowski, from Imperial College London, “the scientific evidence on the risks of contamination leaves no room for doubt; for every increase in pollution levels a is observed increase in mortality rates. Every microgram counts. “Large-scale studies, for example, have found that long-term exposure to pollutants increases risk of natural death, of death by cardiovascular disease and death for respiratory disease.

More defined objectives

Faced with the overwhelming evidence about the impact of this phenomenon, the question remains the same. How to stop it? After decades of environmental policies based on good intentions and on the promises of the states, the scientific community asks to go one step further. “We need to trace a path, set clear goals and establish review mechanisms based on scientific evidence, “argues Veronica Manfredi, spokesperson for the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment.

“The fight against pollution is closely related to the global decarbonization process. If we manage to reach zero emissions by 2050, lower pollution levels will benefit both the planet and people. We will can avoid many premature deaths“Manfredi added during his presentation.”Claiming clean air is a political choice and a social responsibility “, highlighted, in turn, Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe.

Cross-border coordination

One of the key points of this debate is how to guarantee that the efforts made by a country to mitigate pollution do not go in vain because of the neglect of the neighbor. “Pollution knows no borders. That is why we need foster cooperation between countries in the design of anti-pollution policies “, highlighted Isaura Rabago, president of the United Nations Working Group on Transboundary Air Pollution (CEPE).

The debate takes off just a few weeks before the start of the Glasgow Climate Summit (COP26). That is the appointment that the top political leaders of the world to (try) find one solution to the climate crisis. The ball is in your roof.

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