(Copenhagen) In the European Union, 13% of deaths are related to pollution, according to a report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) published Tuesday, for which the current health crisis is a signal to accelerate awareness of the relationship between environment and health.
Posted on September 7, 2020 at 6:11 PM
France Media Agency
“The emergence of these zoonotic pathogens (as in the case of COVID-19) is linked to environmental degradation and human-animal interactions in the food system,” says the study highlighting Europeans being permanently exposed to environmental risks: air pollution – which has clearly declined, but remains the leading cause of death, noise and chemical pollution.
In the 27 EU countries and the UK, according to the latest available figures in 2012, 630,000 deaths could be directly or indirectly attributed to a polluted environment, according to the report, noting significant differences between the West and Eastern Europe and according to socio-economic level.
For example, Romania at the head of the pack registers almost one in five deaths from pollution, while the best students, Sweden and Denmark, regret one in ten.
These deaths, which are mainly related to cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory diseases, “could be avoided by eliminating environmental risks that are harmful to health,” emphasizes the EEA.
“The poorest people are disproportionately exposed to pollution and extreme weather, including heat waves and extreme cold. This is related to where they live, work and go to school, often in socially disadvantaged areas and neighborhoods on the edge of main roads, ”notes the report.
Positive point for the European environment: the quality of the water, in more than 85% of the cases “excellent” for bathing water. In terms of drinking water, 74% of groundwater areas have “good chemical status”.
According to the agency, in order to improve health and the environment in Europe, preference should be given to green spaces, places for exercise, relaxation as well as social integration, which “refresh cities during heatwaves, reduce flooding, reduce noise pollution and support urban biodiversity ”.
In addition, parks and gardens have proved invaluable to mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, the European agency points out.
Reducing road traffic, cutting meat consumption, and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies are some of the other solutions it offers.