Human and ecosystem health are inextricably linked. Our body needs clean air, water, and food every day to function.
People and communities thrive when they spend time in nature, exercising, socializing, and relaxing. At the same time when we live work go to school or play in polluted environments both the body and the mind suffer.
Protecting nature does not mean protecting the planet. It means ensuring health and well-being for ourselves and our children. Pollution prevention is a public health measure.
The biggest immediate health risks are air pollution and noise, especially in cities. In the long-run climate change threatens the very existence of our way of life.
This means the immediate loss of life. due to heatwaves forest fires and floods as well as longer-term threats to food production due to changing weather patterns.
We are also witnessing changes in the distribution of infectious diseases. As the vector insects that carry these diseases move north as the climate warms.
We also know that certain vinger are bad for health.
What steps has the ERA taken so far in this area?
We strive to understand more clearly how our health and well-being are influenced by the environment in which we live.
We are gathering evidence on how people across Europe are exposed to a range of environmental risks. Including air pollution, noise, climate change, and chemicals.
In our recent report on a healthy environment, healthy living how the environment affects health and well-being in Europe. The European Environment Agency gathers the latest evidence and assesses the impact on health.
The World Health Organization estimates that one in eight deaths in Europe is caused by environmental pollution.
These deaths could be prevented and avoided by efforts to improve the quality of the environment.
We also examine the distribution of environmental risks in society. And find that the most vulnerable people in our society are the most affected by environmental stressors.
Socially disadvantaged communities are at greater risk of pollution. Poorer people children the elderly and people with health problems are more severely affected. Then others by environmental health hazards.
This unequal distribution of risks exacerbates existing health inequalities in Europe.
But there is also a positive aspect namely that we also analyze the benefits that nature offers.
As a special mention, the vast majority of Europeans have access to very good quality drinking water and bathing waters. In Europe are of excellent quality and are conducive to exercise and recreation.
How does the ERA support the Green Pact?
The EEC’s indirect and health approaches bring together the available evidence on how human health across Europe is affected. By pollution climate change and ecosystem degradation.
Our recent report European Environment – Situation and Perspectives 2020 (SOER 2020) describes how our current way of life causes environmental degradation. As a result of the objects we produce and consume energy consumption.
our mobility choices and our food system. This knowledge base supports efforts to change that dynamic through a transition to the European Green Pact.
why is air quality such an important factor for health?
Air pollution is treated to be the biggest indirect risk in Europe.
According to our latest estimates, exposure to fine particles has caused more than 400,000 preventable deaths in Europe in 2018.
These deaths were mainly caused by cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. and cancer But in addition to these very serious diseases.
there is growing evidence that exposure to air pollution is associated with other health impacts.
Examples include type 2 diabetes with recent-onset systemic inflammation or mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Air pollution also affects the environment for example by contracting biodiversity in sure. Ecosystems and touching the growth of vegetation and crops. It also has an impact on the built environment for example damaging cultural heritage.
How has the situation improved in recent years? What affair still needs to be addressed?
The implementation of EU national and local policies and measures has led to a reduction in total emissions of air pollutants. And a decrease in the exposure of the population has resulted in a reduction in adverse health effects.
Emissions differ depending on the pollutant and the economic sector. For example, agriculture and the use of fuel for domestic heating are two sectors. With a very high potential for further emission reductions.
Another problem that has not gone away despite the constant reductions, is that we still bear an excessive burden in terms of preventable deaths.
Another cause for concern is the growing influence of climate change on the production of pollutants such as ozone. As well as the need to seek synergies in policies to fight both air pollution and humidity change.
why is noise pollution often forgotten and what is the ERA doing in this area?
Many people do not realize that noise pollution is a major problem. It affects our health.
When we think of noises that affect our health we imagine that we are going to a concert or sitting near a noisy machine that damages our hearing.
However, people do not realize the constant levels of traffic noise. For example, can cause other effects that are not related to hearing impairment. There are serious effects such as ischemic heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, etc.
The authorities acknowledge that noise is a problem, which is why we have a 2002 European Noise Directive and a new guide published by the WHO.
The hardest part is taking action and having the financial means to do it. This is a difficult problem because for example cities and their suburbs are becoming more populated. And the demand for mobility is growing.
The Agency’s work in the field of noise focuses on assessing the impact of noise pollution at the European level. We assess the impact of noise exposure on the health of the European population based on the latest European data.
What are the main findings of your briefing note? How is it different from the ERA report free earlier this year?
The EEA article on implied blast in Europe was broadcast in March.
We are now publishing an information note describing the health risks of exposure to environmental noise in Europe. The note defines the index that will be used as a basis for developing future targets
for decreasing the impact of noise on health. As a specific health effect, we estimate that in Europe chronic noise.
In addition, 22 million people suffer from chronic discomfort and 6.5 million people suffer from chronic sleep disorders.
How do you think your business will evolve in the coming years?
We expect increased involvement from the EEA in these areas.
We hope that the European Environment Pact will bring about a change in Europe.
it will result in greater awareness of environmental issues such as air and noise pollution which will also lead to better policies.
In addition to the European Environment Pact the
World Health Organization recently published a guide on ambient noise and will publish a new guide on air quality.
We anticipate that its publication will provide greater visibility into the issue of noise and air pollution.
The bug that can be caused by pollution
Pollution is a broad phenomenon in all major cities. of the world and is divided into two main types fine particulate pollution and ozone infection.
During the periods when the level of particulate pollution increases. in a certain region, the cases of heart and lung diseases increase noticeably.
This type of pollution is caused by major carbon dioxide emissions from branches and plants etc. Ozone infection is usually caused by emissions from small vehicles.
Both types of infection are associated with various insecurity of the defect.
The latest scientific findings have brought to the attention of the general public the effects of pollution on unborn babies. Experts have found that pregnant women who have been bare to a type of poison called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
(PAHs) are five times more likely to give birth to a kid with ADHD. Experts believe that these toxins can negatively affect neural connections.
in the fetus’ brain thus explaining certain observable disorders manifested by the child from the first years of life.
Another study released this year looked at the effects of two substances found.
in the atmosphere in the vicinity of large firms and plants chromium and styrene. Exposure to these vinger has been shown to be a
portal risk factor for the birth of a kid with autism. Researchers have not been able to find a definite summary for this association but continue to research the fact carefully and find solutions to counteract it.