Public health, environmental and social determinants of health (PHE)

Health impacts

What steps should be taken in cities to prevent the health impacts from urban outdoor air pollution?

Cities can identify their main sources of outdoor air pollution, and implement policies known to improve air quality, such as: promotion of public transport, walking, and cycling (rather than transport relying on private motor vehicles); promotion of power plants that use clean and renewable fuels (e.g. not coal), and improvements in the energy efficiency of buildings and manufacturing.

Essential accompanying steps include increasing awareness about the high disease burden from urban outdoor air pollution and its main sources, as well as highlighting the importance of taking action now to implement country-specific interventions. In addition, the use of effective monitoring to evaluate and communicate the impact of interventions is also an important tool in raising awareness. It can help drive policy action that brings benefits for health, climate and the environment.