The impact of Air Pollution on the Number of Diagnosed Respiratory and Cardiovascular Diseases
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Uniwersytet Bielsko-Bialski w Bielsku-Białej
graduate at University of Bielsko-Biala
Corresponding author
Monika Wierzbińska   

Uniwersytet Bielsko-Bialski w Bielsku-Białej
J. Ecol. Eng. 2024; 25(2):167-175
Over the last few years, there has been a noticeable increase in interest in air quality issues in Poland. Information on this subject is increasingly appearing in the media and in public debate. However, it seems that awareness of the existence and importance of this problem is still too low in our society. In particular, few people have sufficient knowledge of the impact of air pollutants on health. Consequently, the problem of air pollution is very often underestimated. This paper attempts to analyse the relationship between ambient air quality and the number of people who visited a local health care facility and were diagnosed with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The analysis was performed based on the town of Żory located in the Silesian Voivodeship in southern Poland. Air pollutant concentrations of PM2.5, PM10 and SO2 for the summer and heating seasons were obtained from the database of the monitoring station owned by the Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection. Information on the number of people who visited a physician on particular days and who were diagnosed with respiratory or cardiovascular diseases was obtained from the local health care facility “Medyk” in Żory. The analysis was conducted for the summer period from 01.06.2021 to 31.08.2021 and the heating season from 01.11.2021 to 15.01.2022. The analysis showed that the increased concentrations of particulate pollution did not result in an increase in the number of people who visited a physician with respiratory diseases. In the case of the heating period, incidents of above-normal concentrations of PM10 particulate matter may have had a noticeable impact on the increase in the number of patients who visited a physician with cardiovascular diseases. This increase in the number of patients occurred several days after the smog incidents which occurred in mid-December. However, no short-term link was observed between the increase in the number of patients with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and the occurrence of elevated concentrations of sulphur dioxide in the air. Furthermore, higher concentrations of particulate and gaseous pollutants during the heating season resulted in more respiratory and cardiovascular diseases than during the summer season.
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