Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Comment on Air Pollution

Comment sent to local paper:

At a recent Neighbourhood Partnership Meeting, it was revealed that Nitrogen Dioxide readings taken from the Air Quality Monitoring Station in Waddon had exceeded safe standards by up to 20% in the last 8 years.

Spokesperson for the Croydon Green Party Shasha Khan said,

“The targets are there for a reason. Over 1000 people die prematurely every year in London as a result of poor air quality, far more than die in traffic accidents. Air pollution is the invisible urban killer and central and local governments really must take action.

“In the light of these startling readings, it is hardly surprising that the UK Government plans to delay meeting new EU air quality targets [1].”

Nitrogen Dioxide is a respiratory irritant. There is evidence that exposure can increase the risk to children of respiratory infections and cause impairment of lung functions in later life.

Asthmatics and those suffering from emphysema and other breathing problems are thought to be especially sensitive to the levels of Nitrogen dioxide.

Shasha Khan continued:"In Waddon the fumes from motor vehicles have no doubt caused these high nitrogen dioxide readings. There is growing evidence that the actual death toll and illnesses caused by poor air quality is much higher. This is because there is a timelag before lung problems develop.”

[1] The EU Air Quality Directive

The Air Quality Directive came into force on 11 June 2008. It requires Member States to reduce exposure to nitrogen dioxide in urban areas. The limit value of 40 ug/m3 should be achieved by January 2010. Member States (UK) may seek a five-year extension to this deadline but will have to meet specific criteria for derogation to be allowed.
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