A World Health Organisation report has found that 32 areas in the UK have fine particle air pollution levels above 10 micrograms per cubic metre, the level at which the WHO considers there to be risk of potential harm to health, with a further 15 at that limit.
The WHO’s global report showed major cities such as Manchester, Leeds and London all exceed the recommended levels, with Port Talbot ranked as the worst polluted area in the UK.
Fine air particle pollution can affect the lungs and cardiovascular system, contributing to diseases such as lung cancer and respiratory infections. The report estimates that seven million people die globally each year from exposure to this type of pollution. Previous studies have suggested that 50,000 people die from pollution in the UK every year.
Responding to the report, Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, said:
“The World Health Organisation’s report only goes to show the dangerous impact that traffic congestion, and the air pollution it causes, are having across the UK. If we are going to tackle our air quality crisis, we need to reduce the number of cars on the road.
“We need councils to place green, modern buses at the heart of clean air strategies. Greener Journeys research has shown that modern diesel cars produce 10 times more harmful NOx emissions per passenger than modern diesel buses. Considering a fully-loaded double-decker bus can take 75 cars off the road, a shift to buses would be a vital step in reducing air pollution in our towns and cities.”
For further information
Greener Journeys Press Office
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About Greener Journeys
Greener Journeys is a campaign dedicated to encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices. It is a coalition of the UK’s leading public transport organizations, user groups and supporters. It aims to reduce CO2 emissions from transport by encouraging people to switch some of their car journeys to bus or coach instead. Switching from car to bus for just one journey a month would mean one billion fewer car journeys on our roads and would save 2 million tonnes of CO2 every year. For more information visit www.greenerjourneys.com.
Image: John McLinden