health, climate
& circular economy

The key areas for the OCCE

  • Analyze the impact of the linear economic system on human health by demonstrating the links between epidemiological episodes and air pollution/pollutants and linear economy;
  • Propose medical alternatives and promote the circular economy model as a solution for a healthy environment;
  • Monitor European directives on the emission of air pollutants and support the work of the European institutions to manage, prevent and protect people from environmental health risks.

Current challenges

     The current health situation highlights the impact of the linear economic system on environmental health. Numerous studies have demonstrated the deleterious effects of air pollutants on the respiratory system. To cope with this, the circular economy ensures autonomous economic and ecological performance.

     In a context where public health is weakened, lifestyles are greatly disrupted. Every daily action that seemed basic, is redesigned. The quality of the environment and its impact on health are more relevant than ever. With the Clean Air for Europe program, the forecast for hospitalizations was to decrease by 47,000 CAS in 2020; and that of premature death was to decrease by 135,000 CAS per year. But these estimates are jostled by the current health situation, thus revealing the vulnerability of many sections of the population with, among other things, chronic respiratory pathologies.

     The poor adaptability of the defense system of the elderly and their reduced local antioxidant capacity are all factors that aggravate their sensitivity to air pollution. It should be remembered that these pollutants (ozone, VOCs, particles, SO2, NO2) attack and contribute to the deterioration of the human respiratory system. The consequences are then numerous such as the increase of respiratory affections, the deterioration of the ventilatory function, the resurgence of the cardiovascular morbidity or even, the damage of the defenses of the organism. Likewise, air pollution weakens the respiratory tract by amplifying pollen allergies.

Climate change and human health

     The effects of climate change on human health are often invisible in the short term. However, they can have serious consequences for human health over the long term, hence the importance of observing their correlation. According to the WHO, climate change could cause 250,000 more deaths each year from 2030.

  • Each year there is an increase in the surface temperature of the globe. According to experts, these temperatures could increase from + 1 ° C to + 5 ° C during the 21st century.
    Increasing temperature increases the frequency of phenomena such as heatwaves and droughts that have direct effects on human health. They are the cause of the increase in cases of "sunburn", dehydration and hyperthermia. Under these conditions, physiological adaptation becomes more and more complex.
  • Ozone is one of the indicators of air quality. This gas attacks the ocular and respiratory mucous membranes. This causes dry coughs, asthma attacks and reduced lung function. Likewise, sulfur dioxide (SO2) is rapidly absorbed by moist surfaces of the mouth and nose. It causes awareness of respiratory infections. The same is true for fine particles. Numerous scientific studies have also shown that chronic exposure to these particles increases the risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
  • Increasing water temperature and increasing its evaporation causing regular precipitation, promote the development of toxic bacteria, pathogens. These factors are responsible for the growth of cases of water-borne illnesses and cases of food-borne infections.
  • Epidemiological studies demonstrate a correlation between the frequency of pollen allergies and air pollution. The latter makes pollens more allergenic and contributes to the increase in the pollination period.

Pollution reduction
and circular economy

     The circular economy helps reduce the level of air pollution and mitigate the effects of climate change. Indeed, production and consumption patterns influence, among other things, the emissions of tropospheric ozone precursors. As such, we find agriculture, chemical and mineral industrial processes, the use of fossil fuels (transport, electricity, residences and industries) as well as incineration.

     Faced with this, the circular economy offers opportunities based on eco-design, eco-industrial development, the economy of functionality, re-use, repair, reuse as well as recycling. Among other things, it will lead to significant savings.

     The transition to this new economic model will be possible through the mobilization of all stakeholders in the circular economy and the climate and by the inclusion and commitment of all parties stakeholders from all economic sectors.

     The development of a virtuous model by a circular economy, in Europe, will, therefore, reduce the harmful impact of human activity on the planet, ensuring the reuse of resources and their transformation into new matter or object, while limiting the carbon impact and the use of primary resources (which are now limited).

European regulations and standards.

     In order to limit emissions of air pollutants, the member states of the European Union are subject to the European directive 2001/81 / EC (NEC). A revision of these emission ceilings (PEN directive) has been proposed for the six main pollutants: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, ammonia, particles (fine dust) and methane.

OCCE's key proposals
for climate, circular economy
and health

     In order to participate in European debates (in the context of the new Directive for wastewater treatment) and the challenges of humanity, the OCCE is addressing its proposals for climate, circular economy & health.

  • Foster circular practices in all sectors and in particular in the health sector in order to improve health services by reinvesting the economy of scale achieved (recycling of materials, management of chemical substances, waste management and sorting, sharing of medical equipment);
  • Inform about European directives on air pollutant emissions;
  • Encourage the creation of an eco-responsible and sustainable interior environment by integrating the criterion of the circular economy in public procurement through calls for tenders relating to the construction of hospitals or public establishments ;
  • Accelerate the ecological and solidarity transition, by raising the awareness of all stakeholders;
  • Support intra-European surveillance networks which integrate environmental factors;
  • Integrate climate data in health information and disease surveillance systems ;
  • Adopt an intersectoral approach in the face of climate change ;
  • Facilitate coordination between the health sector and other sectors (climate and circular economy specialists, researchers, epidemiology) to cope with changes in the geographic area of diseases ;
  • Offer new medical and pharmaceutical alternatives, adapted to emerging health issues.

Take part in these common challenges and bring your thoughts and experiences in the field:


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