Air quality and health in eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia : report on the WHO workshop, St Petersburg, Russian Federation, 13-14 October 2003
AbstractA recent assessment by WHO confirmed that urban air pollution is still having a major negative impact on human health in Europe, including the Eastern parts of the WHO European Region. An effective policy to reduce the risk from exposure to outdoor air pollution is therefore urgently required. However, in some EECCA (Eastern European, Caucasian and Central Asian) countries the system of air quality monitoring, control and management is weak. An upgrade of legal, organizational and technical frameworks is needed. To tackle this, the 5th Ministerial Conference on "Environment for Europe" adopted in May 2003 an environmental strategy which includes the optimization of air quality standards as one of its key actions and requested WHO Regional Office for Europe to facilitate its implementation. As a first step, this workshop was convened. The workshop reviewed the current approaches to air quality policies in EECCA countries and compared these approaches with those in European Community (EC) Member States and EC accession countries. Some problems common to EECCA countries were identified, including the fact that a) the monitoring and assessment strategies were generally developed some decades ago and are in line with those developed and established in the former Soviet times, b) funding for monitoring and assessing air pollution is often limited and c) the compliance regime (i.e., the enforcement of measures to attain air quality objectives such as Maximum Permissible Concentrations) is in general very soft. The meeting recommended launching work to harmonize national hygienic air quality regulations with WHO guidelines as soon as possible. This work should be complemented by the development of a comprehensive air quality assessment and management strategy. Such a strategy should include the following elements: a few priority pollutants would be selected on the basis of their expected impact on health on a population basis (including PM10/PM2.5); objective criteria would be developed to select realistic objectives such as limit values for air quality assessment and management, including time frames to attain these objectives; coherent quality monitoring and assessment systems would be promoted, including effective compliance control, taking into account international experience; a clear definition of the role of main stakeholders would be defined (within administrations, but also of economic interest groups, NGOs and the public), including a more precise definition and increase of the responsibility of authorities. WHO Regional Office for Europe is committed to assist in this process
World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe. (2004). Air quality and health in eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia : report on the WHO workshop, St Petersburg, Russian Federation, 13-14 October 2003. Copenhagen : WHO Regional Office for Europe. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/107558
Gov't Doc #EUR/04/5046022
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