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HEAL in Poland starts media year off well by talking about health and air quality

On 2 January HEAL’s Lukasz Adamkiewicz spoke about air quality in highly polluted regions of Poland on the most popular news channel in Poland Polsat TV, which has 2 million viewers on average.

Following several smog episodes in Poland in the last months and recent HEAL calculations on the health impacts of air pollution in the country, HEAL in Poland has been busy responding to increased media interest in the topic. In the last week, HEAL’s Lukasz Adamkiewicz participated in two important television broadcasts.

On 2 January, Lukasz took part in a news broadcast to talk about high levels pollutants in the air in Poland. Other experts including doctors and authorities spoke about health problems caused by smog and about ways to solve the problem of poor air quality e.g. free transport for car owners during days with exceeded air pollution levels. The discussion also highlighted that in Poland information and alarm levels about air pollution and smog are much higher than in other countries.

More recently on 11 January, Lukasz took part in an expert debate on Polish public television. Air pollution was the main topic of ‘Echo of the day’. Lukasz answered questions about air pollution in Poland together with Jakub Jędrak from Polish Smog Alert and Artur Badyda from Warsaw University of Technology.

The experts explained why the air in Poland is of such bad quality; which regions of Poland suffer most and; why this problem is important to every citizen in the country. They also named the most common diseases connected with air pollution and pointed out the most affected and vulnerable groups – children, elderly and pregnant women. Solutions to the problem were also discussed, where combatting air pollution will not only result in better health but also bring measurable savings for society and the health care system, as air pollution generates enormous external health costs, estimated at 480 billion PLN (40 - 120 million EUR) yearly in Poland.

HEAL calculations

Only last November HEAL in Poland released interesting calculations for a smog episode that happened at the end of October. Calculations were done for five highly polluted cities but in fact poor air quality was noticed almost across the whole of Poland. The results revealed that for only one smog episode and only measured in five cities, more than 400 people were hospitalized due to the extreme air pollution and more than 100 people died prematurely.

Unfortunately Poland did not have to wait long for another smog episode. Just at the beginning of this year, a dense coat of suspended dust covered southern Poland. It was especially noticeable in the most polluted city Krakow, which is the winter touristic capital of Poland and in the whole Silesia region. In Poland it is more and more clear that air pollution causes a wide range of illnesses and premature deaths, so it was not a surprise that media continue to be interested in smog and air quality issues.

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Originally posted on 27 January 2016

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


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