Turkey | Doctors Say Cleaner Air Would Offer Major Health Benefits

2015.02.23_HEAL_Turkey (3)A new fact sheet released this week by Healthy Energy Initiative’s Europe partner, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), highlights the heavy toll on health resulting from exposure to poor air quality in Turkey. The report was endorsed by five medical organisations including the Turkish Medical Association, Turkish Society of Public Health Specialists, Turkish Thoracic Society, Turkish Respiratory Society and Turkish Occupational Medicine Society.

Turkey has one of the highest rates of premature deaths due to air pollution in Europe. An estimated 28,924 people in Turkey died prematurely from ambient particulate matter (PM) and ozone exposure in 2010, according to recent estimates.

“Inhaling polluted air exacerbates a multitude of health problems. Cleaner air in cities would substantially improve public health. However, the contribution that air quality makes to good health is often neglected,” says Prof. Dr. Bayazit Ilhan, the President of the Central Council of Turkish Medical Association (TTB). “We are monitoring the Turkish government’s energy policies, which heavily base future energy supply of the country on coal power generation. We, as TTB and other concerned specialty associations call on the Turkish government to take the health impacts and costs into account in discussions and decisions about energy production and supply; particularly decisions on increasing the number of coal-fired power plants.”

“HEAL welcomes the fact that doctors and other health professionals in Turkey are highlighting the costs to health from coal, and we look forward to create international cooperation with doctors and medical professionals on raising awareness. We want to encourage national decision makers to take seriously the health impact of energy decisions,” says Deniz Gumusel, HEAL’s Air Quality and Energy Consultant in Turkey.“Choosing to expand or build new coal power plants would be detrimental to efforts aimed at tackling chronic disease and protecting children’s health.”

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