Camfil UK: 21/03/2016 – The World Health Organisation (WHO) have estimated that 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012 – nearly 1 in 4 of total global deaths, according to new estimates. Air pollution amounts to as much as 8.2 million of these deaths.
The Report, “Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks”, reveals that deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mostly attributable to air pollution (including exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke), amount to 8.2 million of these deaths. NCDs, such as stroke, heart disease, cancers and chronic respiratory disease, now amount to nearly two-thirds of the total deaths caused by unhealthy environments. Continue reading
New report released in the UK
A new report issued by the Royal College of Physicians states that the health impact of Britain’s air pollution is far more serious than previously thought. It states that UK air pollution is the cause of up to 40,000 premature deaths a year. The report also concludes that in addition to the negative effects on health, air pollution also creates very high costs for society and business.
The report highlights the fact that air pollution causes damage throughout lifetime, from a baby’s first weeks in the womb all the way through to old age. For example, lung function naturally develops throughout childhood, now there is clear evidence that long-term exposure to outdoor air pollution suppresses this process. Air pollution is also linked to the development of asthma and cardiovascular diseases in adults (heart disease and strokes). The most vulnerable groups include people in low income areas, those with other health issues such as obesity, heart and lung conditions as well as the elderly and the young.
The report presents an historical overview of air pollution. The London smog of 1952 also referred to as the “Big Smoke” killed 12,000 people. Today’s older generations who were brought up in the 1940s-1950s were exposed to soot and sulphur dioxide from coal burning, in the 1960s-1980s carbon monoxide and emissions from leaded petrol were the pollutants of concern. Today’s children inhale nitrogen dioxide and sub-micron particles, so called PM1 from diesel-fueled vehicles.
The fact that air pollution and climate change are intertwined is also underscored in the report. In other words, many strategies to decrease air pollution are also effective in slowing down climate change. One way to achieve these dual goals is to use energy more efficiently. Continue reading
Environmental law organisation ClientEarth, has sent a final legal warning to the UK government, which gives the Environment Secretary, Liz Truss, 10 days to act on air pollution or face action in the High Court. ClientEarth, which won a Supreme Court judgment on air pollution against the government last April, issued the legal letter because Defra’s plans to tackle illegal levels of pollution fall woefully short of what was ordered by the court.
An estimated 40,000 people die early due to air pollution in the UK every year. The government’s current plans, which it was ordered to produce by the Supreme Court after losing to ClientEarth last year, do not envisage the UK to have legal levels of air pollution until 2025. Continue reading