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.
In spite of the work carried out by the EU institutions, the Member States, many cities and grassroot movements in Europe, the general public is still not engaging enough in air quality policy initiatives and the level of awareness and knowledge of the effects of poor air quality on health is often low.
HEAL, within its work with the EU urban air quality partnership has put together a toolkit on ‘Communicating on air quality and health – Inspiring practices, challenges and tips’, providing hands-on examples of how communication on air quality, the health links and (policy and behavioural) changes takes place, as an inspiration particularly for urban authorities wanting to communicate on clean air.
The Partnership on Air Quality was founded in 2016 with the main objective of improving air quality in cities and bringing the ‘healthy city’ higher on the local, national and EU agendas as part of the urban agenda.
Members of the Partnership are:
- Member States: The Netherlands (coordinator), Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland;
- Cities: Helsinki/HSY (Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority) (FI), London (UK), Utrecht (NL), Milan (IT), Constanta (RO), and Duisburg (DE – Representing the Consortium Clean Air Ruhr Area)
- Stakeholders: EUROCITIES, HEAL (Health and Environment Alliance);
- European Commission: DG Regional and Urban policy (coordinator), DG Environment, DG Research & Innovation, DG Agriculture, DG Growth, the Joint Research Centre (JRC)
The Partnership is also actively supported by the URBACT programme, which has an observer status.
Find the toolkit here