The impact of diesel particulates and nitrogen oxides on our health has reached catastrophic levels. My bill will make the right to clean air a reality
Every weekday, millions of primary school children across the UK put their lives at risk. Break time brings relief for busy teachers and is often met with screams of delight as children run out onto the playground. But in many of our major cities, tens of thousands of children in hundreds of schools, nurseries and colleges are at risk as they inhale diesel pollution breaching EU air quality standards.
Across the UK, more than 40,000 people die prematurely from diesel pollution, at a cost of £20bn each year, according to the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics 2016 report. Now 50% of new cars are diesel, with each car producing many times more fumes than laboratory tests had previously indicated. The VW scandal has shown that the motor industry cannot be trusted and the royal colleges’ report finds that babies and children are particularly at risk. Foetuses in pregnant women exposed to air pollution are more likely to suffer effects to their lungs, heart and neurological development. Children in “clean air zones”, areas where the air quality problem is most serious, have a 10% reduced lung capacity and have more respiratory problems, together with effects on their nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems. This leads to physical and mental health problems in later life.
Source: Guardian Climate Change