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Raising awareness on air pollution through Spirometry testing

Dozens of people took part in Spirometry tests during an action in the centre of Katowice on the occasion of the Third Polish Spirometry Days, an initiative of HEAL in Poland and the Society for Earth (Towarzystwo na Rzecz Ziemi). Katowice is one of the most polluted cities in Poland.

The Polish Spirometry Days (PSD) aim to increase awareness of respiratory diseases and their health consequences among people living in Poland, by offering them free Spirometry tests across the country. This event is organised every two years, when World Spirometry Day (WSD) isn’t taking place. Since 2014 HEAL in Poland is a partner of both PSD and WSD in Poland.

Air pollution poses a threat to human health of people of all ages, causing damage to the respiratory, nervous and cardio – vascular system, contributing to heart attacks, strokes or complications of pregnancy. It is also a major cause of chronic diseases. In Poland, it is estimated that 2.5 million Poles suffer from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and even 4 million suffer asthma. This data underestimates the true impact as not even a half of patients are aware of their illness, and prevention of this type of diseases is still too low. In addition, these pollutants generates huge costs to the economy.

This year’s action "Let’s talk about breath - examine lungs in spirobus" took place in over 200 medical facilities. Citizens in the Silesian province had a chance to speak about ideas of improving the air quality in the region with local Parliamentary candidates, who were also invited to participate in the test. During the event, a Mobile Solar Kit was presented showing that renewable energy sources are one of the solutions to help reduce air pollutant emissions and determine the development of energy transformation.

Poland still remains in first place as the most polluted country in the EU with as many as four out of 10 of the largest cities with the worst air quality in the EU. It is estimated that across the country, more than 40 thousands people die prematurely every year due to air pollution, which generates an external health costs of between 160 to 480 billion PLN (40 - 120 million EUR). There is an urgent need for ambitious regulations which would lead to the improvement in air quality and therefore an improvement to public health for citizens as well as a reduction in health costs.

Link to pictures

Originally posted on 17 September 2015

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