Elected officials, institutions, health professionals, associations and citizens can promote training and information to improve awareness of environmental health and waste management concerns:
- due to the more or less well-known impact on health of exposure to environmental pollution
- the fact that everyone is involved in their own health and that of others
- as a beneficiary to take into account the need for an environment favorable to health, in particular by local authorities and other players in town and country planning
The objective of this initiative revolves around the following concepts:
- inform or communicate, which consists in sharing, transmitting something to someone without necessarily expecting the person concerned to have specific behavior or skills
- raise awareness, which means to be able to react to something of which we have become aware; the objective sought is often the modification or adaptation of a behavior or an attitude towards a given situation
- train what corresponds to giving an education in order to acquire additional specific skills
The objective is to create a common culture of stakeholders in environmental health education, to promote the appropriation by local authorities of their role in environmental health. It is also to promote the development by the general public of behaviors favorable to environmental health, to promote urban planning, regional planning and mobility favorable to health concerns, to better support urban development projects and to promote the health dimension awareness.
Land use planning projects and operations condition the main environmental determinants that can have an impact on the health of the population. However, these links between town and country planning, mobility and health are underestimated, even overlooked.
Today, the terms health and environment do not appear explicitly in town planning documents, but these documents incorporate the concepts of noise, air quality, mobility, etc.
The objective of this initiative is to ensure that health and environmental issues are integrated at each stage of urban development and alternative mobility projects and operations, whatever their territorial scale and beyond regulatory obligations. It is important to change the vision of the public authorities on these aspects and to provide better waste management solutions to reduce pollution.
At the same time, citizens must be brought to develop their practices and get involved in the co-construction of projects. Knowing the impact of air pollution on people’s health is key. In 2013, WHO classified outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic. It is the average level of pollution of the air we breathe that has the greatest impact on our health. If all the municipalities in the region reached the lowest concentrations observed in the equivalent municipalities, thousands of deaths would be avoided each year.
The areas more particularly impacted by atmospheric pollution are linked to human activities. The combination with social inequalities in health must be taken into account to determine the so-called priority challenges areas. To date, there is a lack of knowledge about these areas. More specifically, in these territories, suitable and accessible tools must be made available to stakeholders to help decision-making and deploy relevant actions, in particular aimed at changing behavior with respect to waste management and pollution.
This action includes two complementary measures:
Reduce the expansion of plants that emit allergenic pollens
Pollens are recognized by the environmental code as air pollution by biological agents. Actions on the problem of the presence of allergenic pollens in the air need to be carried out at different geographical levels and in a coordinated manner.
The USA is affected by numerous plants with allergenic pollen (plane tree, cypress, grasses, ragweed, etc.). The geographic distribution varies depending on the species. Between 15% and 20% of the population suffers from pollinosis due to the presence of allergenic pollens in the air.
A surveillance system was implemented by the National Aerobiological Surveillance Network, which has sensors to determine the amounts of allergenic pollens in the air. Sentinel pollinariums aim to finely detect the beginning and the end of the emission of pollens from locally gathered species (main plants and shrubs whose pollen is allergenic in the geographical area).
This additional information, which comes under national systems, is transmitted to allergy sufferers who adapt the course of their treatment. In addition some states have set up a cartopollen tool which makes it possible to predict precisely, at the scale of the county, from phenological data, weather and land use, cypress pollen emissions. Finally, there are observatory type devices on the presence of allergenic plants or production of pollens.
This action aims to make legible, even coordinate, on the regional territory, the system for monitoring and reducing colonization by plants with allergenic pollens.