On September 27 last, the Spanish government ratified the first National Air Pollution Control Programme. This will enable very significant reductions in levels of contaminating compounds and substances that are very harmful to the health, in line with the 2030 targets set out for Spain in the National Emissions Ceilings Directive. The programme features a total of 57 measures that focus on all pollutant sectors necessary to achieve this goal and thus protect human health and ecosystems.
Let us recall the words of Lebanese analytical chemist Najat Saliba, who leads the Analytical and Atmospheric Lab at AUB, and has received the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Sciences. In a recent publication, she warned that “we are going to die of environmental pollution if we do not act. The consequences of pollution have been underestimated”. Without wishing to be alarmist, the main causes of death associated with pollution are cardiovascular problems, respiratory problems, cancer, etc., but a relationship has also recently been found between pollution and obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological illnesses. In an interview with Spanish daily newspaper El País, Najat Saliba underlined her battle against environmental injustice and the inequality of its consequences, particularly with respect to atmospheric emissions. She also highlighted the need for developed countries to understand the value of regulating such emissions.
Science is still not up to date in this matter. We have only just begun to understand the relationship between air pollution and health. Many years of research are required but progress is being made in the discovery of emerging diseases, the incidence of which is directly proportional to increasing environmental degradation. Health problems that would have been impossible to link with the environment 100 years ago are now emerging.
Coral Robles Lucas, CEO at LABAQUA SAU, a company belonging to SUEZ Spain
Published in: Nº64 FuturENVIRO October 2019