Unequal exposure and unequal impacts: social vulnerability to air pollution, noise and extreme temperatures in Europe

Targeted action is needed to better protect the poor, the elderly and children from environmental hazards like air and noise pollution and extreme temperatures, especially in Europe’s eastern and southern regions. A European Environment Agency (EEA) report warns that the health of Europe’s most vulnerable citizens remains disproportionately affected by these hazards, despite overall improvements in Europe’s environmental quality. The EEA report ‘Unequal exposure and unequal impacts: social vulnerability to air pollution, noise and extreme temperatures in Europe’ draws attention to the close links between social and environmental problems across Europe. The distribution of these environmental threats and the impacts they have on human health closely mirror differences in income, unemployment and education levels across Europe.

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