This week we have the results of a number of worrying new studies showing the damaging effects of air pollution. In China researchers found a link between air pollution and huge reductions in intelligence(1). In London children at primary school found with worrying levels of particulate matter and new mothers have been found withthis same pollutant in their placenta. The last drop of bad news is that if you are over 50 and live in an area with high you have a 40% higher chance of developing dementia.
Mean while the government, along with six other countries, is about to face yet another challenge in the European Court of Justice for its failure to meet emission targets.
Dirty air kills people and shortens the life of many thousand in the UK and .Why is their no action? The car firms that cheated us about their emissions have not be taken court in this country. They, like the bankers, appear to be untouchable in the UK. has taken the government to court three times and won over its claim that they have failed to bring forward an effective clean air policy.
Want to clean up the air quickly? Don’t drive. Get a bike or go on foot. This weekend we have many cities having CAR FREE days. It’s all part of World Car-free Day. London will be closing 50 streets to traffic. Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Glasgow, Cardiff, Oxford, Cambridge and Liverpool will also ban cars from parts of their city centres. Birmingham is however spoiling the party and refuses to join in and will not be closing any streets. But we need more than an occasional gesture towards cleaner air. We need firm action.
In the UK, Greenpeace’s Rosie Rogers said: “Ministers’ apathy on this issue so far has been nothing short of a dereliction of duty. [Environment secretary] Michael Gove should swiftly come up with a clear plan to tackle the diesel vehicles responsible for most roadside toxic pollution and an outright ban on the sale of petrol, diesel cars and vans from 2030.”
We have to get diesels off our roads and get more cycles, electric bikes and cars in their place. It is time to give the alternatives to the internal combustion engine more support. Its time to make our towns and villages clean safe place where everyone can walk and cycle knowing they will not be put at risk from dirty air and road traffic.