On my mind
AS the Trans-Siberian express train veered down into China the clouds of polluted air hanging over and billowing into the massively populated cities was astonishing.
In Bejing, a city of air purifiers, masks and unidentifiable buildings, a wave of thick, heavy warm air filled my lungs, it wasn’t the scenery that took my breath away but the pollutants of exhaust emission from the five million cars in the city.
We are not close to that in the UK, but a recent air pollution map from Friends of the Earth has identified almost 2,000 locations with levels of air pollution that exceed safety limits.
Wales has some of the worst air quality in the UK and on the map there are two hotspots in Carmarthenshire, both in Llanelli.
Road transport is the primary source of emissions, increasing levels of nitrogen dioxide above the national Air Quality Standards.
We don’t really need to be told where the developing problems are – just take as short a walk as possible along the misnomered Sandy (more soot and grit than sand) Road and increase dramatically your risk of respiratory diseases and shortening your life.
Most of us are aware that the county council has allowed a massive increase in house building along and approaching the AQMA (Air Quality Management Area) route.
Most of us also know what needs to be done and it needs a mixed approach, and quickly. Here’s a start. Avoid breathing in when walking towards Llanelli.
Get out of your car and walk.
Share your car. Sell your car. Emigrate.
Buy a bike.
Take a small bus. Tell the council to put a stop on new housing and build a bypass before Llanelli grinds to a halt and disappears in a cloud of gas.