Save kids’ lives with cleaner air

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News -

SHADOW En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Sue Hay­man speaks for ev­ery par­ent when she says: “One child’s death caused by air pol­lu­tion is one too many.”

Yet to­day we fea­ture three griev­ing moth­ers who be­lieve they lost chil­dren in ex­actly this tragic way.

Asthma is an un­der­es­ti­mated killer. The UK has the high­est num­ber of suf­fer­ers in Europe, and while the dis­ease is mostly man­age­able, when it strikes with force, it’s deadly.

More re­search is needed to quan­tify the ex­act ef­fects of air pol­lu­tion on suf­fer­ers.

It is too easy to say that asth­mat­ics should not live in towns and cities.

But low-in­come fam­i­lies can­not sim­ply up sticks and move to the coun­try.

The job of a re­spon­si­ble gov­ern­ment is to clean up the air in our ur­ban ar­eas.

Labour says it will make this a pri­or­ity.

The Clean Air Act of 1956 was in­tro­duced af­ter the Great Smog killed at least 12,000 Lon­don­ers. What is needed now is an­other Clean Air Act, and not just as part of an En­vi­ron­ment Bill.

The Sun­day Mir­ror is not alone in ask­ing for this. The Royal Col­lege of Nurs­ing and the Bri­tish Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion de­mand one too.

It will mean more re­stric­tions on mo­torists and prop­erly en­forced air stan­dards, which will be an in­con­ve­nience to some. But that is a small price to pay for a child’s life.

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