PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE OF AIR POLLUTION AND COVID-19 PANDEMIC
On behalf of the UNESCO Bioethics Committee of the Petre Shotadze Tbilisi Medical Academy Dean of School of Medicine and the member of the mentioned Committee, Dr. Mariam (Maka) Maglakelidze, on November 18th, 2020, organized the webinar "Public health relevance of air pollution and COVID-19 pandemic". Public health relevance of air pollution is not a questionable issue any more; it is the leading environmental cause of death in the EU, and a critical risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs): Up to 1/3 of deaths from the leading NCDs (stroke, lung cancer, heart attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are due to air pollution. COVID-19 pandemic provided a new context for examining the public health implications of air pollution, which had been challenging for researchers and policy-makers to understand. Health risks of air pollution are small on an individual scale, but involuntarily affect everyone, and are increased with the prolonged exposure, thus becoming more significant on a public health scale. It makes this health risk factor important to be examined from a bioethical point of view.