Air pollution harmful to the very young and very old

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The foul air of London

The UK capital, London, has some of the worst air quality in the world. On the 25th January this year its air quality was measured as being worse than Beijing. Where the Telegraph newspaper took a swat at wood burning stoves we know where most of it comes from – being belched from the exhaust pipes of cars. It is estimated that 9,500 people a year die in the capital due to the filthy air. As congestion mounts up in UK cities, this could well be around 100,000 premature deaths nationwide. But of course, we can’t live without fossil fuels…(ahem)

Children dying by the million

A global study by the UN’s World Health Organisation this year found that 1.7 million children die every year due to all forms of pollution. Of this, 570,000 children die every year due to respiratory problems such as pneumonia and asthma. This is due to living in atmospheres created by mankind that poison their lungs.

According to the Guardian newspaper, around 2 billion children now live in environments where the air quality is below WHO standards. That’s more than a quarter of the world’s population of people.

The very old too

While young lungs are developing and can’t handle the harmful air being pumped into their bodies, the very old are known to be affected too. New research from Canada has shown that people who live near busy roads and highways are more likely to develop dementia later in life.

The research carried out in Canada followed 6.6 million people over a number of years, and found that “Roughly one in 10 cases of Alzheimer’s in urban areas could be associated with living amid heavy traffic.”

As a general rule, the larger the number of people followed in a piece of research, the better its quality. Roughly 25% of Canada’s population were followed in this research so it is very good in terms of the strength of its statistics. It did however stop short of making claims as to what exactly caused the dementia – that is for smaller scale, more detailed research. It does however replicate other research of this kind around the world, and that definitely points to pollution being a major problem.

Time to wake up folks!

We’re at a tipping point where action against all fossil fuels needs to be taken right now. You can also make a difference today by ditching your polluting old banger and leasing, renting or buying an Electric Car. Supporting green energy companies. Cutting back your own emissions. Less hot air from politicians’ mouths, and more action please!

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