When I read this I could not stop myself thinking of how we could live with this silent deaths that represents 1 of 8 persons in the world. Surprisingly climate change debate is always focus on the need to assure a healthy planet for the future generations but these deaths are an irrefutable probe that is all about the present. It provokes more death than tobacco, road accidents or diabetes altogether.
Most of the countries in the world have serious problem to respect the standards minimums established by the WHO of 20 mcg/m3 or the European commission of 40mcg/m3; having as a result the following disappointed results:
Paris: 38 mcg/m3
Barcelona: 39 mcg/m3
Madrid: 45 mcg/m3
Senegal: 145 mcg/m3
Pakistan: 198 mcg/m3
Peking: 300 mcg/m3
However, there are countries with more successful experiences in controlling their levels of pollution like:
Luxembourg: 12,5 mcg/m3
Germany: 15,6 mcg/m3
Norway: 16.1 mcg/m3
Is a contradiction in itself that cities as engines for growth are at the same time the ones that brings more contamination, hence more deaths. We are facing the absurd situation in which countries are growing economically and at the same time decreasing in minimum health standards on developing and developed countries equally.
As reducing poverty have supposed an increase on health levels, migration to cities also supposes higher levels of living, however there is a parallel silent process in which millions people are dying as a direct consequence of pollution.
Is important to highlight that developed countries represents less than 20% of the whole world population and raise almost 70% of greenhouse gas emissions of the entire planet. It´s clear the importance of taking responsibility and serves as models of innovation at technological and educational level for the rest of the world.
The effective implementation of green policies must be inserted at the top of any political agenda especially for modern and developed cities. The first step to be taken is to raise awareness of the need to change habits and legislate and implement adaptation measures.
We need to work not only for the future, assuring safety for the new generations but also for our immediate present in which Education and Politics plays a key role on the road for changing habits and build a legal-economic-financial system around climate change threat sensibility.
* Work of YOKO ONO: ” Coffins with little trees”