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Putting science on air pollution and health into practice – health sector mobilisation on coal issue

HEAL participated in a unique conference organized by the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), which saw both academics and experts from the field discussing in-depth the future of environmental health after the Paris Agreement.

In line with our ongoing efforts to reach out to future health professionals, HEAL’s Vijoleta Gordeljevic gave a presentation on putting science on air pollution and health into practice for a group of enthusiastic medical students from the ULB. Throughout her presentation, Vijoleta explained how HEAL works, how we gather and analyse data in order to produce figures on health damages from coal plants, what the damages compose in terms of health impacts, how they are costed, and how the findings are promoted.

Various examples in the form of success stories from Poland and Turkey underlined our message of how the medical community can make a big difference in the fight against climate change and air pollution, by raising awareness and successfully stall coal projects in these countries. The presentation was met with great enthusiasm from the audience, with many students reaching out to HEAL on how they can become active in promoting environmental health after the presentation.

Health sector mobilization on coal

Over the past three years, HEAL has published a series of reports that include assessments of the health costs of air pollution associated with fumes from coal power plants. The initial report, entitled “The Unpaid Health Bill: How coal power plants make us sick” covered costs in the EU. Since then, country reports have been published for Romania, Germany, Poland, Turkey and in the Western Balkans. Coal is one of the most important sources of air pollution and HEAL’s findings on the hidden health costs of coal burning have proved an excellent way to mobilise the health sector.

Originally posted on 19 December 2016

About HEAL

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 »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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