Professeur émérite à l’Université de Lille 1
Présidente de l’APPA
Association pour la prévention de la pollution atmosphérique
What is the reality behind the figure of 8000 deaths a year due to air pollution in rural France recently published by the French Public Health Institute? To what extent are rural populations exposed to numerous diffuse and intermittent pollutant emissions? This paper shows that the answer to these questions is highly complex. Exposure is a complex process and cannot be reduced to simple ambient pollution figures taken from a model. The rural world is obviously extremely diverse with considerable variations in topoclimatic and demographic conditions. It is often considered as the negative of the urban world, on which public policy focuses more. These rural areas are polluted by agricultural emissions; however, periurban areas, more densely populated by more vulnerable populations, often also suffer from negative externalities from neighboring towns.