Hun­dreds killed by air pol­lu­tion

Seven per cent of deaths in west Lon­don at­trib­ut­able to its ef­fects

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Katherine Cle­men­tine katherine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­

AIR pol­lu­tion is 31 times more deadly than car ac­ci­dents in west Lon­don, ac­cord­ing to re­cent fig­ures.

Pub­lic Health Eng­land re­vealed 6.9% of the to­tal num­ber of adult deaths were caused by air pol­lu­tion in west Lon­don in 2013, the lat­est year for which data is avail­able.

Given that 10,707 adults died in west Lon­don in 2013, this means that 736 deaths were at­trib­ut­able to the ef­fects of air pol­lu­tion, a fig­ure 31 times higher than the 24 peo­ple who died in car ac­ci­dents in the area that year.

These fig­ures do not mean that air pol­lu­tion was the sole cause of 736 deaths but rather that the role that air pol­lu­tion played in all 10,707 deaths was equiv­a­lent to 736 deaths on its own.

West­min­ster was the worst of­fender, where 7.9 per cent of deaths were caused by air pol­lu­tion, fol­lowed by Kens­ing­ton and Chelsea on 7.8 per cent.

But the high­est num­ber of deaths were found in Eal­ing at 128, fol­lowed by Hilling­don with 112 peo­ple.

De­spite the high num­ber of air pol­lu­tion deaths across west Lon­don in 2013, the num­bers are lower when com­pared with 2010.

These fig­ures come a day after Green­peace in­stalled gas masks on sev­eral fa­mous mon­u­ments in Lon­don in protest at high air pol­lu­tion lev­els.

A spokesper­son for protest group Plane Stupid said: “We know that the avi­a­tion in­dus­try’s emis­sions are killing us.

“Heathrow con­sis­tently breaches EU lim­its on ni­trous ox­ides, caus­ing poor health and early death.

“Within 20 miles of Heathrow Air­port, air­craft emis­sions re­sult in ap­prox­i­mately 31 deaths per year. This Jan­uary alone, Lon­don breached EU air pol­lu­tion lim­its for the whole year in just eight days.”

One of Plane Stupid’s aims is to put an end to short haul flights and air­port ex­pan­sion.

The spokesper­son added: “This re­port helps to high­light the grav­ity of this in­vis­i­ble threat to all our lives.”

But Heathrow Air­port in­sists it is tak­ing air pol­lu­tion very se­ri­ously and is tak­ing ac­tion.

A spokesper­son for the air­port said: “We have al­ready re­duced an­nual emis­sions from air­port ac­tiv­ity by 16 per cent over five years.

“But lo­cal air pol­lu­tion arises pri­mar­ily from road traf­fic, the vast ma­jor­ity of which is not re­lated to the air­port, and not air­port emis­sions.

“Traf­fic pol­lu­tion in Lon­don and on the ma­jor roads around Heathrow such as the M4 and M25 needs ac­tion from mul­ti­ple part­ners.

“That is why Heathrow has called for co­or­di­nated and mean­ing­ful ac­tion from govern­ment and City Hall for an in­te­grated trans­port strat­egy to get cleaner ve­hi­cles onto ma­jor roads and mo­tor­ways.”

Across the whole of Eng­land, 24,807 deaths were at­trib­ut­able to air pol­lu­tion in 2013 – 5.3 per cent of the to­tal num­ber of adult deaths that year.

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