Greening cities could reduce heat-related deaths, study finds

(ORDO NEWS) — The creation of green zones covering at least 30% of urban areas will help to avoid about a third of deaths in EU metropolitan areas due to extreme heat.

According to Tamara Jungman, one of the authors of the article, “in such cities there is less vegetation, a greater population density and an area of ​​heated surfaces, including asphalt.”

All this leads to the effect of “urban heat island” (UHIS), she added.

Experts assessed the impact of UHIS on the health of people over 20 years old in 93 European cities, pointing out the vital importance of green spaces, taking into account abnormal temperatures.

According to them, about 4.3% (6,700) of deaths were caused by extreme heat, but greening would prevent about a third of them (2,644).

“Projections based on current data indicate that heat-related illness and death will become an even greater burden on our health services in the coming decades,” Jungman said.

Heat stress, when the body cannot cool itself, is the leading cause of weather-related death in the European Region.

Temperature extremes can also exacerbate chronic diseases, including cardiovascular, respiratory and cerebrovascular, and conditions associated with diabetes.

Hans Kluge, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Europe, said earlier that at least 15,000 people are expected to die due to the heat in 2022.


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