- UK target for air pollution doubles WHO recommendations
- Ministers will consider at a lower level but warned that meeting them would be challenging
- But campaigners say government targets ‘unsuitable for purpose’
Ministers were today urged to take stricter targets on air pollution amid claims of the government being “pulled” in the fight against toxic air.
The World Health Organization’s recommended target – updated today for the first time in 15 years – is half the level of No. 10’s proposed limit.
Politicians have yet to pass the threshold as law, a bill currently being debated in the House of Lords.
But the charity today urged ministers to act on the WHO’s advice, saying its proposed limits on pollution are ‘inappropriate for purpose’. poisonous air will blow Without immediate intervention ‘continue to spoil the health of future generations’, he warned.
And the mother of a nine-year-old girl, who was the first person in Britain to record air pollution on her death certificate, has called on the government to follow new WHO guidelines.
The UN agency, which last updated its guidance in 2005, called for stronger action, as evidence continues to build on the health risks of minor pollutants linked to heart disease, dementia and cancer.
According to the WHO, poor air quality is estimated to kill 7 million people each year and cut out millions of healthy years.
WHO issued air quality guidelines to protect people’s health, calling on countries to ensure that major air pollutants do not rise above a certain level. As per the recommendations, guidelines for particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (μg/m³) should not exceed the state level annual level of 5 micrograms/m – half the level included in an environment bill to be passed through Parliament.
WHO guidelines set new targets for so-called classical pollutants, particulate matter (PM 2.5 and PM 10), ozone (O2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). Almost all targets are below the target recommended in 2005, as researchers have shed light on the impact of pollution on health over the past 16 years.
Dr Hans Henri Kluge, Regional Director for WHO Europe, said the impact of air pollution on diseases is ‘large, it is increasing, and makes air pollution the most important environmental risk factor for our health’.
Mother of girl whose death was linked to pollution says Britain should adopt new clean air targets
The mother of a nine-year-old in London whose death was linked to air pollution has called on the UK government to adopt new air pollution targets.
Rosamund Addu-Kisi-Debra’s daughter, Ella, died of an asthma attack in February 2013.
A coroner ruled in December that pollution contributed to his death.
She lived near South Circular Road in Lewisham and is believed to be the first person in the UK to record air pollution on her death certificate, with the Southwark Coroner’s Court finding that it was a ‘material contribution’ to Ella’s death. ‘ Was.
Ms Addu-Kisi-Debra said ministers now have a ‘once-in-generation opportunity to protect children’s health’ by updating air quality targets to comply with the latest World Health Organization guidelines.
She said: ‘Air pollution affects the health and future of children – it causes premature birth, life-threatening asthma, cognitive problems, childhood cancer and many other problems.
Pictured: Nine-year-old Ella Kissey-Debrah
‘There is no safe level of air pollution to breathe, but at least following WHO’s new air quality guidelines will improve children’s health and set us on the path to achieving clean air for all.
‘By including air quality targets in the Environment Bill that follow World Health Organisation’s guidelines, the UK government now has a one-time opportunity to protect children’s health.
‘This bill will determine the quality of the air we breathe for the next 15-20 years – meaning babies born today will grow up with it. We cannot disappoint them.
‘Like my daughter Ella’, the coroner’s report on preventing future deaths says that aligning PM2.5 pollution with WHO guidelines would be a minimum requirement to save lives.
‘And yet our government wants to put air quality targets up for consultation from January to October 2022.
‘It is incredibly disappointing to see Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the United Nations this week telling other countries that they are not doing enough to tackle climate change, when his own government is still supporting new fossil fuel projects. and is delaying air quality targets that will now save lives and help reach net zero emissions by 2050.
WHO guidelines urged countries to ensure that air pollutants, such as particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO), do not exceed a certain level.
The recommendations suggest that PM levels smaller than 2.5 microns (μg/m³) should not exceed the annual level of 5 micrograms/m – half the level covered in the government’s environment bill and one-fifth of the limit covered in current regulations.
It is also half the level recommended in its old 2005 guidelines.
And short-term exposure – the level to which a person is exposed for a maximum of four days per year – should not exceed 15 µg/m, compared to the previously recommended 20 µg/m.
Tiny particulate matter are some of the most dangerous pollutants because they are capable of penetrating deep into the lungs and bloodstream, causing damage to body parts.
They have also been linked to cancer and are mainly made from burning fuels for transportation, energy and agriculture.
Dr Hans Henri Kluge, Regional Director for WHO Europe, said that the impact of air pollution on diseases is ‘large, it is increasing, and makes air pollution the most important environmental risk factor for our health.
He said: ‘Everyone on the planet has a fundamental right to breathe clean…