LivingEffects of pollution on health

Effects of pollution on health

The latest data available indicates that air pollution causes some 800,000 premature deaths in Europe each year, a figure that is double the estimates available to date. In addition, according to experts, exposure to poor quality air is as harmful as smoking several cigarettes a day. The World Health Organization estimates annual deaths due to pollution at more than seven million, and nine out of ten people in the world breathe unhealthy air.

Among the most dangerous pollutants for health are nitrogen, ozone, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and lead. Carbon dioxide has been the culprit of 6,085 preventable deaths each year in Spain and, among its serious health risks, the worsening of asthma and respiratory failure stand out.

Environmental pollution affects the entire human body, although the respiratory system is its main target. Diseases such as lung cancer, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and many others are directly related to this problem, which in Spain produces about 10,000 deaths a year , a figure much higher than that caused by traffic accidents.

We are talking about a serious problem that affects public health , causes high health costs and, of course, worsens the battered environmental state of our planet.

Therefore, logic tells us that if pollution were reduced, millions of lives could be saved. The good news: pollution is avoidable, and this is demonstrated by initiatives of a wide variety of types implemented around the world: laws that sanction or put limits on the most polluting activities, investment in research and development of cleaner technologies, policies that they promote sustainable mobility and restrict the use of private vehicles … The data speaks for itself, and any measure is little. Who would criticize a politician for putting in place an emergency plan to deal with an earthquake or any other natural disaster? Pollution and climate change are also an emergency, and therefore require urgent measures.

(All the information has been obtained from the information conference on environmental pollution and health organized by the Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery)

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