Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Take Your Breath Away: Smog Kills Thousands

Welcome to London
 Air quality in England and Wales today is already at dangerous levels in many parts and set to get worse today and tomorrow.People with respiratory conditions such as asthma and older people are advised not to involve themselves in any vigorous outdoors activity but preferably should stay indoors, while others are advised to watch for wheezing and sore eyes. The pollution index is expected to rise to as high as 9 out of a possible 10 across southern England in particular.

This is the result of naturally sand clouds, which cross Britain quite frequently and deposit useful minerals for agriculture, mixing with high levels of pollution from cars, industry and other human activities: London has the worst record in Europe for poor air quality but its authorities seem incapable of taking any effective action. This is although some 29,000 early deaths were attributed to air pollution in the UK alone last year (7 million worldwide).

This will only get worse without radical action to change our forms of energy production and use, move from private to public transport and create more space for natural events like the sand to occur without causing devastation to people and planet. Paris was affected badly enough a few weeks ago to briefly but massively reduce car use in the French capital, but Britain, with our dependence on cars and relatively poor and expensive privatised public transport system, sits splendidly complacent in the face of the smog rolling over us. Even seeing, it seems, is not believing for our carbon-addicted policymakers.

Green MEP Keith Taylor, whose south-east constituency is particularly badly affected, issued a statement: "It’s clear that our Government must play a role in pushing for stronger air pollution laws from the European Union, rather than trying to water down the rules we already have.The air in our towns and cities needs to be cleaned up. To do that we need to reduce the amount of traffic and bring in cleaner alternative transport options."

But for now we have a Government more interested in posing in an entirely fake, election-oriented "argument"  about wind turbines between its two craven components while dark clouds shroud our not-so-green-and-pleasant land.

It's enough to take your breath away. Literally.

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