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REVEALED: Deaths due to 'air pollution' in Wiltshire

REVEALED: Deaths due to 'air pollution' in Wiltshire

Published by Mike Draper at 12:12pm 18th February 2020.

3 minute read

Friends of the Earth say air quality is an “absolute disgrace, and are calling for legally enforced reduction targets.

One in 21 deaths among people aged 30 or over in Wiltshire is caused by air pollution, according to new data.

The figures from Public Health England show an estimated 4.8% of deaths of people aged 30 or over in Wiltshire in 2018 were caused by contaminated air.

AIR POLLUTION HEALTH RISKS

  • The data measures deaths associated with long-term exposure to tiny particles known as PM2.5
  • These harmful PM2.5 particles have a diameter about 3% of the width of a human hair
  • PM2.5 is found in vehicle emissions, industrial processes and the burning of fuels for heating

Repeated exposure to the PM2.5 particles can trigger chronic conditions such as asthma, heart disease, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems.

Across England, 5.2% of deaths of people aged 30 or over were estimated to be due to this type of air pollution in 2018.

A person is shown using an asthma inhaler.
PM2.5 particles are known to cause asthma, heart disease, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems.

SALISBURY TRAFFIC POLLUTION

As Spire FM News reported, Extinction Rebellion staged a deliberate go-slow in Salisbury at the start of February to draw attention to traffic pollution in the city centre.

Friends of the Earth campaigner, Jenny Bates, said:

"These levels of the most health-damaging air pollution are an absolute disgrace. Every year, UK air pollution causes nearly 36,000 early deaths and billions of pounds in costs to the economy. The Government must get a grip on this health crisis."

Friends of the Earth say the new Environment Bill was a 'crucial opportunity' to protect healthy air by setting out legally binding targets on particle air pollution to be met by 2030.

A wood burning stove is seen with flames rising from the logs.
Wood burning stoves and non-smokeless fuels used for heating are a big source of PM2.5 pollution.

READ MORE

The Local Government Association said councils have introduced a range of measures to tackle air pollution, such as clean air zones, encouraging electric vehicle use, and promoting cycling.

But it also said more LOCAL powers were needed to tackle air pollution further.

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