Health groups call on the leaders of the Western Balkan countries to harmonize national air quality standards with the World Health Organization Global air quality guidelines. Health experts should be actively involved in these decision-making processes to ensure the timely integration of public health measures into environmental policies. Compliance with WHO recommendations brings multiple benefits – reduced incidence of chronic diseases and premature deaths, reduced overall health costs and, most importantly, better health and higher productivity of people.
Energy poverty is a matter of life and death for many Europeans according to new research published today by the European Right to Energy coalition, with expert input provided by HEAL, which reveals a majority of EU countries have significant levels of energy poverty.
This includes damp and leaky homes, high energy costs for households, inability to keep homes warm against winter and inability to keep homes cool in summer. The first of its kind EU-wide ranking shows energy poverty was most common in the south and east of Europe, especially Bulgaria.
Vijoleta Gordeljevic, health and climate change coordinator for the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), said: “Chronic exposure to cold, damp and mould compromises people’s mental and physical health – the World Health Organization estimates that inadequate housing is linked to 100,000 premature deaths a year in Europe. EU countries must link strategies for affordable renewable energy, energy efficiency, access to housing and environmental sustainability.”
HEAL’s briefing Healthy Buildings, healthier people, explores the risk factors of unhealthy buildings and makes recommendations for policy makers, city-level officials, the building’s sector and the public health community.