TAKE ACTION ON AIR POLLUTION
FOLLOWING Monday’s air pollution alert across large parts of the south east of the UK, surely it is about time local people began to take some personal and moral responsibility for reducing the high levels of toxic fumes that contribute to so many early deaths each year, as well as damaging the health of communities and especially young children.
The number of diesel 4x4 vehicles on our roads in towns in Buckinghamshire seems to be increasing, with many being used for short commutes in built up areas and school runs. How unnecessary are such vehicles for such journeys?
Given the continued breaching of legal air pollution limits across the UK, surely it is about time national and local government disincentivises the most polluting vehicles and educates their users about the very real impact the fumes are having on our health and that of our children.
According to Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health findings quoted in 2016, outdoor air pollution is contributing to approximately 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK.
The south east is heavily affected by this pollution.
Separate figures from the European Environment Agency show that the UK had 11,940 premature deaths in 2013 from nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas mostly caused by diesel vehicles and linked to lung problems.
Going about one’s daily business in and around Amersham and Chesham, the distinct smell of diesel fumes is all too apparent when cycling or walking close to roads.
It’s disheartening to see an increasing number of 4x4 and other large diesel vehicles on our local roads when evidence exists to link their fumes to a public health emergency.
The fact that the effects are cumulative and not directly apparent means that road users can conveniently dip their heads in the sand and pretend it’s not an issue to take seriously.
Parents above all others should surely start thinking more carefully about just how good an idea it is to drop the kids off at school in heavy polluters, and whether they are gradually putting their own children at risk of health complications.
Our local authorities and elected representatives need to grip this issue more seriously now.
The long term costs of not doing so for our local health services are too great.