“Where we live determines our health since before we were born.”

“Where we live determines our health since before we were born.”

Improving air quality is key to improving quality of life. This was the conclusion of the second session of the cycle of discussions on the climate crisis promoted by Entesa per Sabadell. The event was attended by Mireya Gascón, a researcher in environmental epidemiology at ISGlobal, who explained the impact of pollution on humans.

“Where we live determines our health since before we were born,” Gascón offered. In this sense, the biologist points out that residents of cities like Sabadell, especially those who live in the busiest streets, are exposed to more health risks. He explains, “Climatic factors play an important role in pollution, but the main source in the end is road traffic.”

Children are more at risk

The session focused on the health of young people. As Gascón reported, the latest studies show that high levels of pollution can affect proper brain development during childhood. In addition, the incidence of respiratory complications is also increased in children who live in more polluted environments. “Exposure to pollution during pregnancy already has an impact on children’s health,” says the researcher.

Sabadell from the air. Author: @Sr_JOF via Twitter.

At this stage, how can the problem be solved? The answer is complicated. It is not enough to take isolated measures, advocates Gascón, who calls for a structural commitment to public transportation and the adaptation of school environments. The biologist is also taking a position in favor of the local school, which should allow students to make the trip on foot, without using private vehicles. “We must ensure that school trips home are healthy,” he said.

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Beyond gases

In addition to vehicle emissions, which are perhaps the most visible form of pollution, Gascon dealt with other risk factors that we find in everyday life in cities. Noise pollution is one of the most obvious examples. “In Barcelona alone, if noise were reduced to the levels recommended by international organizations, more than 2,000 disease cases would be avoided,” he explained.

The event was attended by about forty people in the Casal Pere Quart hall and was moderated by former city mayor Matthijs Ceracant.

Cover photo: Gascón and Ciracant, during the conference. Author: Jordi M.

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