Protecting the environment to improve the health of Europeans

The welfare of European citizens and the needs of the industry are two of the topics that will be addressed in this European Green Week. Brussels expects the European Union to be climate neutral in 2050. But how far are we from this goal?

The answer is very far. Ilva, the largest steel plant in Italy, owned by the Arcelor-Mittal group, is located in the southern Italian city of Taranto. For years it has emitted dioxins and other harmful products for health with very serious consequences for children as explained by pediatrician Annamaria Moschetti. “The Higher Institute of Health carried out a study whose results were known in 2019 and it seems that children who live closer to industrial plants, compared to children who live further away, have an IQ reduction of about ten points__, details the Italian doctor.

During all these years, Ilva’s disinterest in environmental issues has led the company to court. This Monday, the ex-owners of the plant were sentenced to more than 20 years in prison and the former governor of the region to 3 years and six months for environmental disaster. But now nobody knows what to do with a factory that continues to pollute.

“It is time to put an end to this agony and take advantage of European funds to design a route towards a real ecological transition. We need to invest at least 5 billion euros in Taranto to re-employ Ilva workers and put the future of the city in a truly sustainable project for tomorrow “, says the president of Peacelink and environmental activist Alessandro Marescotti.

The effects on the public coffers

Pollution and the problems associated with it are not just a problem for Taranto. The National Health System finances the treatments of the many cancer patients in the city of Taranto. So a a healthier environment would end up having an impact on public finances explains Genon Jensen, director of the HEALTH think tank in Brussels. “We know that air pollution causes more than 400,000 deaths a year, in Europe alone, and it is totally preventable. If we can make these healthcare costs and their impact more visible and the citizens understand it, then I think we will have more support from the European Union. for policies that truly address and reduce health impact “says Jensen.

EU Green Week is an opportunity to raise awareness among all stakeholders and citizens on how to join forces to create an environment free from pollution and toxic substances. Also in Taranto.