Air Pollution

Our exposure to air pollution is contributing to more than 28,000 deaths each year in the United Kingdom. These figures were published by the Government earlier this year but have again come into focus after a new report by Public Health England.

The PHE report says that 5.3% of all deaths in people 25 and over are now linked to air pollution. These figures vary by location but tellingly the highest percentage of deaths linked to air pollution are in London.

The boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster have the highest rates where 8.3% of deaths can be attributed to air pollution. Tower Hamlets also performs badly with a figure of 8.1%.

Air pollution has been compared to smoking as a “public health crisis” by the Environmental Audit Committee as both causes of death are now attributed to a similar mortality rate. Average life expectancy was shortened by up to 10.6 years for those whos death was hastened by air pollution.

Unsurprisingly the authors of the report have recommended that all new schools, care homes and hospitals should be built far away from major roads because of the dangers.

Diesel engines have been blamed for much of the harmful air pollution being one of the main contributors to the high levels of carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

air pollution cars

Air pollution consists of:

  • High levels of carbon dioxide, which has been linked to diseases such as cancer effecting the heart and lungs.
  • Nitrogen dioxide, which is known to cause swelling of the airways and reduced lung function. It can also complicate conditions such as asthma.
  • Particulate matter, tiny specks of dust and chemicals, which can lodge in the lungs. Some of the smallest particles can enter the bloodstream and can also cause damage elsewhere in the body.

Electric vehicles of course do not produce any harmful emissions, so travelling with eConnect cars is helping to tackle the problem.

If you would like to find out more then Kings College London are constantly measuring the levels of air pollution in the Capital. Click here to see their interactive map.

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