Monday, July 14, 2014

European Environment Agency urges for ‘systemic’ approach to environment, health concerns

EurActiv: Governments need to study the connections between health and environmental concerns, which could save them money and improve societal well-being over the longer term, according to the European Environment Agency.

...The EEA is also seeking to promote this kind of thinking in relation to climate change and other complex problems.

Noxious emissions can damage the environment, as seen in acid rain or reduced crop yields, or human health, with higher incidences of respiratory diseases, with the costs falling on governments and taxpayers.

"It may seem there is nothing new about considering different policy areas together – air pollution, for instance, has often been considered in terms of its health implications. But the report argues that research should further incorporate these areas, allowing us to gain a system-wide understanding of multiple causes and effects," the EEA says, referring to a report it released in February on the environment, health and well-being.

By failing to address the source of the problem, government costs can mount up, particularly in healthcare. Many European countries had to cut their healthcare budgets during the economic crisis, leaving citizens unable to receive treatment, such as medicines.

However, with many problems being inter-linked, the potential for governments to reduce their costs is great. “It is difficult to measure the effects of our environment on our health,” said Lode Godderis, a researcher on health and the environment with KU Leuven, in Belgium. However, sometimes the scientific evidence does reveal connections, he said....

Paris at night, shot by Benh LIEU SONG, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported2.5 Generic2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license 

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