New Brochure on domestic coal combustion in Poland
HEAL together with eight Polish health and medical institutions have launched this publication to raise awareness of the health impacts of burning coal in the home. Measures to reduce domestic coal pollution will be discussed at a special webinar on 26 June.
The brochure brings together important, but often ignored numbers on the domestic coal combustion issue in Poland, as well as the latest science on the health effects of coal burning and case studies. Public interventions that have contributed to cleaner air are also presented.
It has been developed with and endorsed by numerous Polish health, environment and medical institutions: Military Medical Institute, Institute of Environmental Protection - National Research Institute, National Institute of Public Health - National Institute of Hygiene, Polish Society of Environmental Medicine, Polish Society of Allergology, Polish Federation of Associations of Asthma, Allergy and COPD, Faculty of Environmental Engineering, Warsaw University of Technology and the Conference of Rectors of the Academic Medical Universities.
Air pollution in Polish cities is a serious public health problem, and coal burning from households is a major contributor, along with emissions from the transport, agricultural sector and from coal power plants. Six cities in Poland rank among the ten most polluted areas in Europe, and EU air quality limits for daily particulate matter concentrations are exceeded frequently. It is estimated that more than 30 percent of the Polish population is exposed to annual PM concentrations above the EU legal limit.
The many effects of air pollution on health have been well researched and range from asthma, chronic bronchitis and other respiratory disease to heart disease and impacts on children’s development. Elderly people and those already ill, pregnant women and children are particularly at risk. Research shows that the likelihood of children developing asthma or allergies is much higher in those homes where coal is being used for heating and cooking.
The brochure also presents information on public health interventions that have contributed to cleaner air: the city of Dublin introduced a smoky coal ban in the 1990s. Studies carried out before and after the introduction of the ban showed that the phase out of coal stoves in households brings significant improvements in the health status of residents in a short time frame: cardiovascular disease decreased by 10% and respiratory disease by 15 percent. In Poland, the city of Krakow has become one of the front runners in Europe with the introduction of a ban in 2018 for the use of solid fuels in households, that is coal, wood and heavy fuel oil.
Health and medical experts will discuss the issue of domestic coal burning at a special webinar on 26 June. This webinar is part of a series of three throughout 2014, targeted to health professionals, medical experts and health-affected groups interested in how air pollution affects health and what can be done to improve air quality in Poland.
Last updated on 30 June 2014
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