Risks To Health
Few people, we believe, recognise the risks from poor air quality because those risks are unseen and not immediately experienced. We have sought to identify these risks below.
- The number of deaths attributed to long term exposure to air pollutants in the UK in 2012 was 28,969. The figure for Birmingham was 520. (Public Health, England 2014)
- The air pollutants are largely invisible and odourless. They comprise the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and the tiny particulates labelled PM 2.5s, which penetrate our lungs.
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer stated in 2013 that PM 2,5s were a cause of lung cancer.
- Both NO2 and PM 2.5s are emitted by diesel engines. Sales of cars with diesel engines have increased from 10% in 1995 to over 50% of all car sales in 2014. In contrast, cars with petrol engines emit very much lower amounts of both of these pollutants.
- The Supreme Court (presumably stimulated by concerned groups of citizens) has instructed the Government to draw up a new air quality plan by the end of the year.
Armed with the information above, EcoSutton wants to stimulate discussion. Our ideas, which are far from complete, are:
- encourage people to buy cars with petrol, hybrid or electric engines;
- request the creation of more walking and cycling routes away from main roads;
- encourage a greater use of public transport with hybrid or electric buses.
Our Interest is in a more active, safer and healthier lifestyle for us all with ultimately improved air quality.
We will maintain links and publicize the work of Sustrans and the city council’s Birmingham Cycle Revolution. For Sutton and Erdington, we will support the ongoing cycle training in schools and the programme of activities at the Windley and Erdington Leisure Centres.
Traffic fumes are a recognised cause of stroke.
Growing fruits and vegetables promotes healthy activity, rewarded by healthy eating. There is much satisfaction in growing and eating one’s own food, fresh from the garden, full of vitamins and minerals – unlike much of that found on supermarket shelves. Any surplus produce can be shared or exchanged with friends, neighbours and family, thus promoting a community spirit.