The government must come up with a new plan to tackle the countries air pollution after a losing a second court case. But how bad is the air pollution in the UK?
Just How Bad Is It?
Air pollution his a huge contributor to ill health in the UK, but it’s hard to put a figure on how much it contributes.
Air pollution doesn’t directly kill people, but it is estimated that it shortens the lives of around 40,000 people a year, principally by undermining the health of people with lung or heart issues.
The Media Headlines
You might have seen some newspapers claiming that air pollution is responsible for at least 40,000 deaths every year. But these reports are wrong, it is also wrong to claim that pollution in the UK is rising.
Like we said earlier, the 40,000 figure is not how many people die from air pollution, but it is the number of lives that it shortens every year. But there is a lot of uncertainty in how accurate the figure is.
Is pollution increasing?
All around the world, pollution is on the rise. However, in the UK, air pollution has been generally dropping (except ammonia from farming).
But despite the overall fall in the UK, many of our major cities breach the safe limit for air pollution.
Experts in air pollution argue that it has been under reported for a very long time, but the issue has only recently got onto mainstream media after the UK government lost court cases over illegally dirty air, and because of the Volkswagen scandal over car emissions.
Scientists are now more confident about the ways in which air pollution harms people. It has even recently been linked with dementia, although that link remains questionable.
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