Anthropogenic particulate matter in the air contributes to the death of nearly 29,000 people every year, and harms the environment. In its latest report, CIWEM says it is time to overcome the political barriers and commit to a healthier future.
Each year, around 29,000 deaths are attributable to anthropogenic particulate matter in the UK, at a cost to the economy of up to £15 billion a year.Other air pollutants cause illness, premature mortality and harm the natural environment; and the UK’s National Air Quality Strategy, which should provide a clear framework for improving air quality, is years out of date, according to the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).
In a new report, Clearing the Air, published on July 22. 2013 during the 2013 EU ‘Year of Air,’ CIWEMprovides the latest information on the air pollution challenges facing the UK and gives an independent assessment on the level of policy importance for each pollutant. The report asserts that whilst some scientific challenges remain in understanding the impacts of air pollution, there is still considerable progress that can be made by addressing political barriers.
Road transport is the main cause of poor air quality in the UK, and very significant reductions in traffic emissions are required to meet current standards. CIWEM says that the Highways Agency, which controls many of the busiest roads, should be given stronger direction and responsibility to ensure air quality objectives are achieved alongside both existing roads and new infrastructure.
A full revision of the National Air Quality Strategy is required to reflect the current evidence of the harm being done to human health and ecological systems, and the policies and priorities of the Government over the medium term, to 2030.
Chair of CIWEM’s Air Quality panel, Dr. Claire Holman, says, “Now, during the European Year of Air, is a critical time for air quality as EU air policy is under review. Government should use the National Air Quality Strategy to lay the policy framework for achieving healthy air.”
“Part of the battle will be achieving greater public awareness of the true health implications of air quality, and in turn, acceptance of the measures required, such as reduced car use. The updated strategy must take full account of the harm done to human health and the environment, and take true strides towards a cleaner, healthier future.”
The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, CIWEM, is an independent professional body and a registered charity, advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management for a clean, green and sustainable world.www.ciwem.org
Clearing the Airis exclusively available online at:www.ciwem.org/clearingtheair
CIWEM is a partner in the Healthy Air Campaign. Find out more athttp://www.healthyair.org.uk/
More on CIWEM’s Air Panel can be found online at:http://www.ciwem.org/knowledge-networks/panels/air.aspx
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