Don’t take a deep breath

Management & Regulation, Natural Environment

Don’t take a deep breath

Polluted air causes problems for water quality and biodiversity, but most of all it’s an issue because it kills.

According to new British Heart Foundation (BHF) report, We’re full of it, every year up to 11,000 UK deaths from heart and circulatory diseases can be attributed to air pollution.

More broadly research published by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, back in 2016, showed that around 40,000 deaths per year in the UK were linked to poor outdoor air quality. With indoor air pollution being an additional issue.

These are pretty shocking statistics. And they’re not the only ones available.

With increasing awareness of how poor air quality affects the most vulnerable in our society, many are demanding changes. Right now.

Organisations and individuals are spreading the word on dangers of poor air quality and putting pressure on Government to improve legislation. Some campaigns to check out include:

Whilst the Government’s 2019 Clean Air Strategy was seen to fall short of the commitments needed, the Environment Bill is currently passing through Parliament providing a fresh focus for lobbying efforts.

CIWEM is proud to be part of the Healthy Air Campaign, led by ClientEarth, who are working hard to make safe, clean air a reality for all. Our top asks are:

  • a legally binding commitment to achieve World Health Organization (WHO) guideline levels of PM2.5 pollution by 2030 at the very latest
  • robust plans for meeting binding targets, and
  • a new ‘clean air duty’ on all public bodies to contribute to improving air quality.

To find out more about these priorities, you can read the full second reading briefing.

With the current Government majority, securing amendments to the Environment Bill won’t be easy. If you’re looking to make a difference to our air quality you could write to your MP to ask them to support air quality amendments. If you’re most interested in getting WHO guidelines adopted and delivered you might like to use the BHF e-activist template.

The Environment Bill provides an opportunity for the Government to become world leaders in tackling air pollution, benefitting both society and the economy, but amendments are needed to make sure they don’t miss it.


Sarah Anderton

25/02/2020

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