“Take a Breath” tackles air pollution to improve health

The “Take a Breath!” project (TAB) has developed innovative approaches to reducing air pollution from vehicles, industry and domestic heating, and its negative effects on human health. It aims to limit the impact of air pollution on climate change, while promoting sustainable economic development in participating cities, through a series of integrated tools and actions to support local decision makers in improving air quality, human health and quality of life.

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" The TAB project helps us to understand the ‘state of health’ of the territory and to identify appropriate solutions for better environmental quality. We need to take a breath in every sense: Better air quality improves the local economy as well as the quality of life. "

Agnese Ugues, Mayor of Sangano, Italy

Air pollution is complex, with causes often found far from where effects are seen. TAB has collected environmental data which have been fed into a virtual observatory showing air pollution levels, their interaction with climate and their impact on human health in participating cities.

This provided the basis for a transnational consultation on air quality involving communities, local government, industry, health professionals and non-governmental organisations. The consultation led to the formulation of a policy document composed of Adaptation Action Plans for participating regions containing tools and actions for reducing air pollution and mitigating its effects.

A knowledge-sharing and cooperation platform

Another outcome was the Central European Healthy Environment Platform (CEUHEP) – available online to the public - which supports the collection and sharing of knowledge through cooperation between public authorities and specialists on air quality and environmental health. National Healthy Environment Platforms have also been set up to foster debate on the causes, effects and prevention of air pollution.

Awareness-raising activities in partner countries were aimed at about 400 000 people. Some 700 people have already taken part in capacity-building training, including public authority representatives, health workers, environmental experts, teachers, students and other interested parties. The integration of awareness-raising and training is an important achievement of TAB.

Aside from its direct outcomes, TAB can help to create jobs in a variety of sectors, from boosting the creation of environmental management systems through to promoting local tourism due to cleaner environments thus increasing the attractiveness of participating areas. The project also foresees the production of clean heating sources, notably with the commercialisation of less pollutant wood stoves The Adaptation Action Plans and Mayor’s Declarations signed by partner cities and regions can help to further improve air quality and human health, and thus extend the life and success of TAB.


Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “TAB – Take a breath!” is EUR 1 877 042.00, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 1 559 549.70 from the Operational Programme “Central Europe” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.


Draft date

10/12/2014