The data are alarming, up to 92% of people breathe polluted air at levels that are hazardous to health, according to WHO data.
In the last decade, pollution caused the premature death of some 93 thousand people, just in Spain.
"The air you breathe: air pollution in cities"
This is the name of the recent research work carried out in Spain by Clemente Álvarez, and prepared by the DKV Observatory of Health and the Environment of the DKV Institute for Healthy Living, in collaboration with the Ecology and Development Foundation.
The report, with which the insurance company celebrates the tenth anniversary of the DKV Health and Environment Observatory, reveals the various harmful effects on health that the air we breathe can have, in order to increase public awareness regarding to the seriousness of the problem, both in the common people, as in the authorities and agents of change.
The primary objective of this work lies, according to Josep Santacreu, CEO of DKV, in a "call to action"
Santacreu says: “although the relationship between pollution and health and people's quality of life is an issue that, today, practically worries us all - and especially those of us who live in cities - harmful emissions are still a pending issue and, therefore, we must continue to draw attention, both to society and to the different agents involved "..." the public administration has to take measures in this context "..
The WHO data
The World Health Organization (WHO), throws alarming data, 92% of the planet's population breathes polluted air at dangerous levels for their health, a figure that, as detailed in "The air you breathe: air pollution in cities ”, makes air pollution one of the main challenges for global health.
In total, pollution can be the cause of up to 101 different diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases, neuropsychological disorders, or certain types of cancer such as lung, bladder, kidney or colorectal. Most of the population thinks that air pollution can only cause or worsen respiratory illnesses such as asthma, COPD, allergies or lower respiratory infections.
Initiatives underway to combat pollution
In recent times, there have been interesting examples of municipal public actions aimed at combating air pollution by addressing one of the main challenges in this regard: monitored traffic.
In this sense, the report from the DKV Observatory of Health and Environment specifically analyzes cases such as those of Pontevedra, Vitoria-Gasteiz or Seville, focused on transforming urban mobility to reduce car use; as well as the strategy of the city of Madrid, designed to respond to episodes of excess pollution.
Organizations and companies have also promoted initiatives to educate the population, demand measures to lower levels of air pollution and contribute to improving air quality.
An example is the xAire project, which, sponsored by DKV Seguros, was developed last February in Barcelona with the aim of determining the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution around schools, one of the pollutants most important due to traffic, as well as one of the most damaging to the health of minors.
The project had the participation of primary school students, teachers, mothers and fathers from 20 schools in the city, who placed 810 air quality measurement sensors throughout the Catalan capital to later (a month later) collect them and send them to a laboratory specialized in the analysis of your data.
A few days after the publication of the official results of the project, Marta Pahissa, head of development and management of Environmental projects at DKV, stressed that “beyond the importance of information on pollution in the Catalan capital that is being obtaining, it should be noted that the xAire project has introduced the innovative concept of citizen science by involving families and students in Barcelona in the scientific process ”.
With information from: