Poor air quality and climate change are the two greatest threats to human health in the pan-European region – says new UN report

Batumi, Georgia 8 June 2016 – Poor air quality, climate change, unhealthy lifestyles and the disconnection between people and the environment are increasingly affecting human health in the region, finds the latest Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) assessment for the pan-European region, prepared by the UN Environment Programme and the UN Economic Commission for Europe with support from the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Air pollution is now the greatest health risk in the region, with more than 95% of the EU urban population exposed to levels above World Health Organisation guidelines, for example. Over 500,000 premature deaths in the region were attributable to outdoor air quality and 100,000 to indoor air quality in 2012.

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And Krakow in Poland is an example of poor air quality

Smog, logging make Cracovian protesters

About 300 people gathered on Krakow’s main square last weekend for the “Czysty [Clean] Protest” against the severely unhealthy levels of smog experienced regularly in the city. Furthermore, they spoke out against the policies of Polish Environment Minister Jan Szyszko, which have liberalized the felling of trees on private property and in the primeval Białowieża Forest in eastern Poland (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Demonstrators, some wearing smog masks, held up huge signs bearing angry emojis with cooler-colored designs on the backs.

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