Reducing health harmful transport emissions in European cities

  1. In November 2019, The Polish Society for Health Programs won a competition organized by a non governmental organization based in Brussels, called European Public Health Alliance ( EPHA ). It was a competition for the implementation of the polish project “Reducing health harmful transport emissions in European cities”.
  2. On 8.01.2020, The Polish Society for Health Programs signed a partnership agreement, for the implementation of the project, with EPHA.
  3. As a part of the project, The Polish Society for Health Programs focuses on a fight against polluted air with particular emphasis on pollution generated by the transport (this category of pollution, due to it’s provenance, is called ‘diesel’)
  4. On January 20th, 2020,  The Polish Society for Health Programs , signed a cooperation agreement with the Medical University of Gdańsk, ensuring its position as a partner of this medical university.
  5. On 29.01. 2020, The Polish Society for Health Programs signed a cooperation agreement with the Polish Society of Public Health and Social Medicine. The goal of this agreement is a cooperation as a part of the “Healthy Air” campaign. It means: disseminating information on risks related to the air pollution, raising the knowledge of society and decision makers about the relationship between health and polluted air, co-organizing conferences, workshops, seminars, initiating research and / or publications in the above-mentioned scope, “Clean Air” advocacy.
  6. On March 1th , 2020 The Polish Society for Health Programs sent a letter to the Minister of Climate regarding three health recommendations to be included in the conclusions of the EU Environmental Protection Council “Improving air quality” (March 5th , 2020). This letter is a manifestation of our participation in the campaign fighting for healthy air #Cleanair4helath.

Excerpts from the letter:

“Air pollution is the largest environmental health threat, leading to about 400,000 early deaths per year across the EU […]. It is It is a risk factor for  New research also shows that there is a link between air pollution, obesity, diabetes and neurological conditions.

[…] serious chronic diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. New research also shows that there is a link between air pollution, obesity, diabetes and neurological conditions. New research shows that there is a link between air pollution, obesity, diabetes and neurological conditions. The most vulnerable groups are children and elderly people”.

Our recommendations:

  1. It’s necessary to calculate health care costs associated with air pollution. According to WHO, the economic and social costs of European cities and society are enormous and reach over EUR 1 billion per year […]. We argue that, since it is possible to determine the healthcare costs generated by road transport […], it is also possible to calculate the healthcare costs (incurred by the healthcare system) generated by polluted air, to sustain healthcare systems.
  2. Most Europeans live in cities. Diesel emissions, in particular those generated by road transport, contribute significantly to the burden on health budgets and to the costs of the air pollution […]. Over 40% of nitrogen oxides (NOx) come from road transport, whereof approximately half come from diesel vehicles […]. Moreover, recent independent laboratory tests have shown that new diesel cars emit huge amounts of tiny particles that cause cancer […].
  3. Reducing and improving the quality of animal production can reduce the amount of harmful substances produced by agriculture, including ammonia. Higher standards (animal welfare, the use of antibiotics, agroecology and, where possible, free-range production) can lead to reduced ammonia emissions. The existence of a link between lower meat consumption and air pollution is also highlighted by the European Environmental Agency […]

We’ve listed these three recommendations above in order to:

  1. emphasize the need to include health cost analysis in the assessment of air pollution policies results;
  2. encourage cities, according to the scope of their tasks and competences, to implement the necessary measures to reduce harmful to health pollution generated by transport;
  3. reflect the importance of reducing and improving the quality of animal production in lowering harmful to health pollution caused by agriculture, in particular ammonia. […]