Air pollution worsened the symptoms of nearly 1 million lung patients
Nearly 1 million Netherlands residents with a lung disease say air pollution worsens their symptoms. Over 50,000 ended up in hospital at least once in the past year, the Longfonds reported based on a survey by Nivel. The association for people with lung diseases, therefore, calls on municipalities to do more to improve air quality.
Every year at least 12,000 people die prematurely due to particulate matter or nitrogen dioxide pollution. Dirty air can even affect unborn children in the womb, according to the foundation. Children who grow up in polluted air are more likely to develop asthma. Nearly 6,000 Dutch children developed asthma due to air pollution in 2019 - the most in Europe, the Longfonds said.
"Air pollution can make anyone sick. And our children in particular," Longfonds director Michael Rutgers said. "We call on municipalities to work on air quality. This - just after the municipal elections - is the moment." The Longfonds wants municipalities to include a specific policy for healthy air in their new municipal agreements.
The Nivel survey found that 68 percent of lung disease patients believe their municipality must do more to improve the air quality. "Together with all these people, we appeal to the municipalities: put health at the heart of your pollution policy," Rutgers said. "Prevent people from getting sick due to unhealthy air. And let our children breathe feely."