Dalelorenzo's GDI Blog

How Air Pollution Affects Poverty in Europe

How Air Pollution Affects Poverty in EuropeAir pollution is disproportionately affecting the health and well-being of people living in poverty, according to a recent report by the European Environment Agency. The report titled “Healthy environment, healthy lives: how the environment influences health and well-being in Europe,” calls for improving air quality in Europe by decreasing emissions and adding green spaces. Many consider air pollution to be an environmental issue or a global health concern that affects us all equally. However, the report makes the case that impoverished communities face a higher burden of air pollution and other environmental stressors.

The Link Between Air Pollution and Poverty

The Borgen Project held an interview with Catherine Ganzleben, head of the air pollution and environmental health groups at the European Environment Agency (EEA). She said, “Pollution hits poorer communities harder than affluent communities because of lack of access to medical care and exposure to the byproducts of climate change.”

As the climate crisis continues to worsen so does air pollution and extreme weather, disproportionately affecting those living in poverty. “In large parts of Europe, [vulnerable communities] are more likely to live next to busy roads or industrial areas,” Ganzleben said. “[They] face higher levels of exposure to air pollution.”

Even when both affluent and impoverished people experience the same exposure, air pollution affects the health of the impoverished more. Ganzlebe continued, “People living in lower-income regions [were found] to be more susceptible to the health effects of [pollutants] than wealthier people living in polluted areas.” Additionally, families with lower socio-economic status face more significant negative effects of pollution. Several factors could contribute to the disproportionate effects of air pollution. These include access to healthcare, underlying conditions and poor housing situations.

The Struggle for Clean Air in Poland

Traffic and industrial pollution are two of the main factors contributing to air pollution in Europe. But, in some countries, like Poland, the largest contributor to air pollution is burning coal to heat single-family households.

Poland is infamous for having one of the worst levels of air pollution in the European Union, according to K. Max Zhang in his interview with The Borgen Project. Zhang is a professor of energy and the environment at Cornell University. Poland still generates electricity and heat using coal, one of the most polluting forms of energy.

Poland’s reliance on coal can mainly be attributed to its abundance of old, single-family houses built in the 1970s. In an interview with The Borgen Project, Magdalena Kozlowska claimed that these homes remain unrenovated. She is the project coordinator of Polish Smog Alert. She also added that the most impoverished populations in Poland are less able to update their energy sources.

Polish Smog Alert is an organization that is committed to cleaning Poland’s air and meeting the European air quality standards through advocacy and mobilization. It also works to inform the public and help people make their houses more energy-efficient, Kozłowska said. The organization formed in 2013 when they started working to ban the burning of solid fuels in Krakow.

This ban on burning solid fuels came to fruition in 2019, when Polish Smog Alert worked with local and national governments to enact “changes in the national law [and the] city had to cooperate and offer money to exchange the boilers and help people experiencing poverty to pay the difference in bills,” Kozlowska continued. “And still, the city is doing that.”

Goals of the European Environment Agency’s Report

The attention to air quality around the world has been increasing in recent years. However, the EEA wants to see more policy changes and tangible action from the European government, Ganzleben said. These policies should also not have the sole aim of protecting the environment. In addition to environmental efforts, these policies should protect communities that are feeling the brunt of climate change’s effects. “Policies to deliver high environmental quality should be aimed at preventing and reducing the unequal distribution of environmental health risks, ensuring fair access to environmental resources and enabling sustainable choices,” said Ganzleben.

The report also explains the benefits of green spaces, even within polluted city environments. Green spaces, like parks and lakes, can benefit people’s well-being. “Mental and physical [health] are linked,” said Michael Brauer, professor of environmental health at the University of British Columbia, in an interview with The Borgen Project.

Reports like this one from the EEA, Brauer said, are a result of a growing urgency related to air pollution. In recent years, there has been much more attention globally to the issue, “[As a] response to increasing awareness of air pollution and the problem,” Brauer continued. “There is really no evidence of a safe level of air pollution.”

Combating Air Pollution’s Disproportionate Effect on the Poor

There need to be policy changes that address the socio-economic effects of climate change. This will alleviate the burden of air pollution on those living in poverty. “At the local level, integrating environmental health concerns into welfare policies, health policies and urban planning and housing policies can help to reduce the vulnerability and exposure of the population,” the report read. “Air pollution not only hurts the environment, but it also exacerbates poverty, and worsens the living conditions for the poor.” While humanitarian organizations like the Polish Smog Alert are working to alleviate pollution in Europe, there is still much to be done to eradicate air pollution and help those disproportionately experiencing the consequences of climate change.

– Laney Pope
Photo: Flickr 

The post How Air Pollution Affects Poverty in Europe appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Read more: borgenproject.org


A little love letter to London

Henry James formerly said," it is difficult to speak adequately or rightly of London. It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable, cheerful, or easy or exempt from reproach. It is merely elegant ."- here's a little love letter from Neha, a kiwi expat in London who's just returned to New Zealand.

As London and the rest of England slip into a second nation-wide lockdown, spirits will no doubt will be dampened. How are we back in this same place again?

Earlier on in its first year, we braved nearly three and a half months of lockdown in London. So I know that having to go through it again will be really difficult and challenging for countless parties. Being stuck inside in a city not known for its infinite will be so hard in a city so full of life. But London and Londoners will survive.

As someone who left a piece of her nature in London, here's a little love letter, in the hope that it will help people appreciate the amazing city that is London!

i love london

Dear London,

It’s been really over a month since I left your beaches, but I miss you every single date. What a relationship we’ve had! The two years we had together merely flew by, and before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye. I wasn't ready. For the first time in a long time, I felt physically psychological and sad about leaving.

How is it that you’ve constructed me feel like this in such a short time? It's incredible the impact a place can have on the heart.

From second-guessing to creating memorable instants

When I decided to move to London, a lot of people in New Zealand questioned me. Why? My friends wished to know why I was leaving a beautiful country and a well-paying job to go to London?

Everyone I spoke to mentioned the grey-haired, rainy days, the crowds, and the traffic , none in a delightful channel. Most parties didn’t get it.

But there was just something about you that pulled me apart halfway across the world despite all the negative things parties said. Looking back now, I am so glad I engaged you and decided to leave Christchurch to be in London. Two year ago, a dream came genuine for me. I imply it in the most genuine, sincere channel possible.

You’re big-hearted, staggering, and expensive. You’re heaving with audiences, but you can still make one feel lonely, even at the best of seasons. But you’re likewise very comforting and friendly and welcoming. It's a intimacy I've grown to love.

You welcomed me with open arms, hugged me as an expat, and added me with opportunities and experiences I never meditated possible. Thank you.

In awe

People love to complain about the Tube, the pollution, the homelessness. I get it; I’ve done it too. Sometimes it does get a bit too much, and it genuinely sucks. But more frequently than not, I’ve learnt myself in awe of the amazing, crazy, beautiful municipality that you are. The grizzly area is part of the character; it's what determines you, you.

You truly do furnish something to everyone, whether they're with you for a short visit or they’re around to make a living.

i love london

All things Underground

Speaking of the Tube, my goodness, where do I begin !?

Yes, it is stuffy. It is packed with parties like sardines in a can, but no one can argue that it is one of the best things about living in London. Name a better public transport system; I dare you. There is so much to love about the iconic Tube.

From its legacy and growth, the tube map, the roundel, the individuality of tube terminals( from the Sherlock tiles in Baker Street to the artwork of Tottenham Court Road ), the frequency of learns, the tube etiquette( I could write a whole section about this itself ), there is so much! Then there’s that moment of joy when you no longer need to refer to the map to figure out which row to take. Success!

You previously know how to get from Shoreditch to Hammersmith. I had that moment very. That’s when I knew I was a local, and I belonged here. I was home, and it felt huge!

I love you for the incredible museums that help find a home in you. What other municipals in the world offer the collection of museums that you do? From the beautiful Natural History Museum, the serene Victoria& Albert Museum to quirky ones like the Sewing Museum and British Dental Association Museum- there’s something for everyone, and it costs us nothing!

i love london

Of pubs, food markets, cafes, and bookstores!

I love London for all of your taverns.

I love that each bar has a story and history behind it and that they all thrive in one place together! And what about the legend of Sunday roasts? When my sister asked me what I wanted my last-place snack to be before I left you, I knew it had to be a good old traditional Sunday roast at a neighbourhood pub.

I have never seen a Yorkshire pudding this good, in all regions of the world!

This fetches me to food- a lot of people advised me that good meat is hard to come by in London even though it’s a melting pot of cultures. In my humble ruling, they couldn’t be further from the truth.

You have allowed me to eat some of the nicest food I’ve ever feed. Affordable Michelin star restaurants serving the best of the UK produce, the fresh, handmade pasta at Padella( if you guys haven't been, start THE MINUTE it is safe to do so, again !), the hummus at your umpteen Middle-Eastern diners, and all the incredible street food at the countless food markets; Borough, Brick Lane, Portobello, to list a few cases- there is so much good food here that I have come back to NZ a few kilos heavier!

And what about the myriad of coffeehouses and bookshops that are bustling with fervent patrons.

Much like every tavern has some record behind it, I found that every coffee that is spewed in your quaint coffeehouses has a story behind it: every bookshop, its own charm. I want, merely look at Word on the Water- a bookshop on a canal barge give a beautiful smorgasbord of classic and contemporary myth and non-fiction works.

I love you because of your adoration for play, mode, artwork, and design. You’re home to the home of cricket and the eventual in tennis. Do I it is necessary even mention football?

I’ve cherished going to the pub and going amongst it during video games of rugby or cricket; I’ve enjoyed screaming until I lost my voice watching the Champions League Final in 2019, just as much as I’ve enjoyed soaking in the history and chivalry that accompanies video games of measure cricket at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

i love london

A life of distinguishes

In you, I noticed different sorts of bewilder contrasts.

The streets around Westminster where Big Ben and Westminster Abbey proudly stand are full of history. But only across the Thames, there’s likewise modernity to be found in The Shard. Fitzrovia's streets are placid, with lots of quaint local bakeries and coffeehouses opposing with the bustle and fus of Borough Market. I’ve sauntered past the nicest homes and flashiest cars in St John’s Wood just as I’ve seen clues of skirmish and homelessness near King’s Cross.

This is just a small glimpse into why I love you. You give opposes to co-exist. In London, you cause beings, homes, and things to be who they are without judgment. Here beings write their own fibs no matter where they’ve come from, how much they earn, what one of the purposes of you they choose to live in.

I have to admit our relationship did have a bit of a rutted start even though I adore London now.

Sometimes, experiencing a home in you is hard work - you don’t make it easy. Your overwhelming nature can be suffocating. Even with millions of people around you, you can make one feel lonely. I felt the same for a while until you let me to get into a chore, and that’s when I fell in love. That’s when I regarded you for being the strong, staunch metropoli that has stood the test of epoch across centuries.

i love london

True adoration

London, I fell in love with you for being unabashedly yourself. A lieu where one can find comfort in the promise of flood every other day, one can find the gala intent under the dazzling Christmas angels on Regent Street, one can find certainty in your changing seasons, and sometimes one can find oneself...in awe, magnetized in a army of people in the middle of Piccadilly Circus.

I love London.

Thank you for being you.

What city have you inspected/ lived in that stole your center? What are your favorite things about traveling, extremely, are living below metropolis other than those you were brought up in? Spill!

i love london

The post A little love letter to London performed first on Young Adventuress.

Read more: youngadventuress.com