Clean air would help to fight the pandemic

Municipalities should take effective measures to reduce air pollution without delay - requested the Secretary General of the National Association of Municipalities (TÖOSZ) in a letter sent to the leaders of more than 1,600 TÖOSZ member settlements. Dr. Ferenc Gyergyák wrote the letter upon the initiative of the National Association of Patient Organizations (BEMOSZ), the European Public Health Association (EPHA) and the Clean Air Action Group (CAAG).

The Secretary-General warns that the body weakened by air pollution is less resistant to infection, diseases might get worse and lead to more frequent death cases. All of this can happen even if someone is only exposed to high air pollution for a relative short time. (Many decades of experience show that on days of high air pollution, the number of illnesses, including those requiring hospital care, increases dramatically.) In addition, viruses can adhere to the surface of airborne particles, remain infectious for hours and spread.

Zoltán Massay-Kosubek, manager of EPHA’s "Clean Air!" campaign said: “Our organization has already pointed out in a statement issued a few days ago that polluted air can significantly worsen the consequences of a coronavirus epidemic. Bad air and the coronavirus primarily attack the same organs: the heart and the circulatory system, as well as the respiratory system. If such a double effect occurs, the immune system is more likely to fail.”

András Lukács, chairman of the Clean Air Action Group, stated: “We trust that all local governments will immediately ban the burning of garden waste and take substantive measures to eliminate illegal and extremely harmful public waste incineration. The public must be effectively informed, and the authorities must take strict action against violating activities."

Tünde Koltai, president of BEMOSZ, thanked and appreciated TÖOSZ: “We hope that the letter from the Secretary General will also contribute to fewer people will get seriously ill due to the coronavirus, and thus even lives can be saved."

The letter of the Secretary General of TÖOSZ can be read here (in Hungarian):

Translation by Gabor Lakos