According to the opinions of various specialists, persons with lung health issues may be in the greatest danger due to the climate catastrophe. High temperatures and shifting weather patterns exacerbate existing lung health issues.
Experts in respiratory medicine have requested that the European Union (EU) reduce its regulatory levels for air pollution to align with those established by the World Health Organization (WHO). The following was written in an editorial for the European Respiratory Journal: “We need to do everything we can to help alleviate patients’ suffering.”
They went on to say that the effects of the climate catastrophe and the state of human health had become inextricably connected and were now “irreversible.” In the manuscript that was submitted for peer review, the scientists claimed that a rise in pollen and other allergens, as well as wildfires, dust storms, and traffic driven by fossil fuels, all worsen pre-existing respiratory problems or have the potential to develop new ones.
It is predicted that air pollution was responsible for the deaths of 6.7 million people worldwide in 2019, with 373,000 of those deaths occurring in Europe. Greenhouse gases and air pollution share many of the same sources.
According to Zorana Jovanovic Andersen, a professor of environmental epidemiology at the University of Copenhagen and an author of the report, “Climate change affects everyone’s health, but arguably, respiratory patients are among the most vulnerable.” “These are folks who already have trouble breathing, and because of that, they are significantly more sensitive to the way in which our climate is shifting. Their symptoms will worsen, and unfortunately, this could be fatal for some of them.”
Because children’s lungs are still developing, they breathe faster than adults, and they take in two to three times as much air as adults because they spend more time outdoors, children are more likely to be badly impacted by climate change and air pollution.
According to the authors of the study, early life exposure to air pollution may increase a person’s risk of developing chronic lung diseases later in life. These diseases also include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchitis caused by smoking.
According to what the authors stated, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and putting a halt to further warming of the earth would result in “substantially larger and more immediate benefits” since people’s health would immediately improve as a result of the cleaner air.
Jovanovic Andersen continued by saying, “The air we breathe must be clean and risk-free for all of us.” This indicates that governments need to take action in order us to limit the effects of climate change on our world and on our health. As respiratory specialists and nurses, it is our responsibility to be aware of these new dangers and to do everything in our power to alleviate the suffering of our patients.
Recent WHO reports have said that lowering emissions would result in improved air quality; as a result, the authors concluded that limiting air pollution should be “at the heart” of any climate policy.
The authors are advocating for the European Union to align its criteria for air quality with those of the World Health Organization on behalf of the European Respiratory Society, which includes more than 30,000 respiratory experts from 160 nations.
In comparison to the WHO’s standards, which are five micrograms per cubic meter for PM2.5 and ten micrograms per cubic meter for nitrogen dioxide, the limits for fine particles (PM2.5) in the EU are set at 25 micrograms per cubic meter, while the limits for nitrogen dioxide are 40 micrograms per cubic meter.
The government of the United Kingdom has established a goal for PM2.5 levels of 10 micrograms per cubic meter by the year 2040. The government claims that it is impossible to meet the WHO criteria due to emissions that blow over the English Channel and from shipping.
“As recent extreme weather events have shown, we need to prepare our community for a much more complex future adapting to the ever-increasing impact of climate-related respiratory disease,” Jovanovic Andersen co-wrote in another recent assessment. “We need to prepare our community for a much more complex future adapting to the ever-increasing impact of climate-related respiratory disease.”