21 Apr 2023, 13:21
Sören Amelang

Cities must protect children against UV rays intensified by climate crisis - ministry

Clean Energy Wire

Cities and municipalities must act urgently to better protect children against UV radiation, which is increasing as a result of climate change, Germany’s environment ministry and the office for radiation protection have warned. “The number of sunshine hours has been increasing for years due to the worsening climate crisis, and with it the risk of UV-related health damage such as skin cancer,” state secretary Christian Kühn said in a joint press release marking the start of a public campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of sunshine. “The federal, state and local governments must also take precautions in this area to protect people from the consequences of the climate crisis,” Kühn added. The president of the radiation office, Inge Paulini, called for creating more shade in kindergartens, schools, playgrounds, public squares, and areas dedicated to sport. “Whoever seeks shade must find shade,” she added.

A survey among 1,000 mayors revealed that many consider targeted UV protection for the population to be important or very important (58 percent). However, only 25 percent of the cities and municipalities stated that they had implemented UV protection measures such as sun sails or planting trees in recent years. Seventy-one percent reported feeling poorly or very poorly informed about UV protection measures in municipalities.

Even 15 years after its first climate adaptation strategy, and despite deadly floods and droughts, Germany is still failing to integrate climate adaptation into everyday decision-making at all levels. There is however, a growing awareness that not acting now will result in much greater financial and human costs in the future.

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