The right prescription for air pollution

The UK Government isn’t taking the issue of air pollution seriously, despite the serious risks it poses to human health. That’s according to ‘Doctors Against Diesel‘, a group of campaigners […]

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By Jonny Bairstow
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The UK Government isn’t taking the issue of air pollution seriously, despite the serious risks it poses to human health.

That’s according to ‘Doctors Against Diesel‘, a group of campaigners from the medical profession who marched to 10 Downing Street yesterday to hand in a giant prescription to the Prime Minister.

ELN spoke to Chris Griffiths, Professor of Primary Care at Barts and the London Medical School, who told ELN the group was deeply concerned about the damage caused by illegal levels of air pollution from vehicles.

He said: “I’m really particularly concerned about children because there’s a lot of consistent data now across the world, from California, from Boston, from Scandinavia and now work that we’ve done in the UK, in London, that shows poor air quality damages growth and development of children’s lungs.

“That seems to me an extraordinarily important piece of scientific evidence.”

He suggested badly affected children are likely to suffer from stunted lungs and are more likely to experience poor health in adulthood and potentially early death.

Dr Griffiths added the government’s new draft plan to tackle illegal and unsafe air pollution in the UK, released last week, was “toothless and anemic” and showed they aren’t taking the issue seriously.

He said: “If you wanted something concrete to achieve then it would be to ensure that no school or nursery had pollution levels that broke World Health Organisation legal limits – I mean, that would be a pretty good start.”

The UK’s sustainability experts are calling on the next government to make air pollution a priority after the nation leaves the EU.