Enviro Technology predicts air quality will move up the political agenda in 2012
31 January 2012, News release from Enviro Technology Services Plc
The next 12 months will see a substantial increase in awareness of the issue of air quality in the UK and a renewed focus on solving the problem, according to air quality monitoring experts, Enviro Technology.
With poor air quality now shortening the life expectancy of people in the UK by an average of seven to eight months and costing society up to £20 billion per year[i], Enviro Technology is predicting the whole issue of air pollution will move up the national agenda in the next 12 months and beyond as more and more people are affected by the UK's poor air quality and the Government faces the potential prospect of EU fines for breaching pollution limits.
According to the Government's recently published Air Quality report, 40 out of the UK's 43 assessment zones are failing to meet EU targets and poor air quality is now shortening the lives of some 200,000 people in the UK by an average of two years.[ii]
In fact, studies suggest that living near busy roads could account for 15-30% of new cases of asthma in children and a similar percentage of cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and coronary heart disease in adults aged 65 and over.[iii]
Against this backdrop, environmental campaigners such as Environmental Protection UK (EPUK) and the Healthy Air Campaign health, led by EPUK and supported by a number of transport, health and environment NGOs, are upping the ante to increase public awareness and understanding of the health impacts of air pollution in light of the Government's failure to tackle the issue head on.
Steve Read, Managing Director of Enviro Technology, believes that over the coming year, there will be a large-scale shift in attention towards tackling air pollution once and for all, particularly in the year of the Olympics when all eyes will be on London and visitors from across the globe will be flocking to the Capital.
"As we enter 2012 and with the Olympic Games just around the corner, air pollution is a significant and growing problem in the UK. However, the vast majority of people in the UK have been left in the dark about the devastating impact that air quality is having on their health not to mention the dent it is making in the public purse. The average person on the street is unaware that each time they breathe they are potentially taking in thousands of tiny, toxic particles of soot and carbon compounds from car exhausts, brakes and tyres as they go about their day-to-day business.
"It is vital that the dangers of air pollution and its impact on public health are clearly communicated and this is supported by much more open and transparent air pollution monitoring, reporting and forecasting at a local level. This needs to be communicated in such a way that engages with the general public and local decision makers to encourage them to take action to solve the problem.
"In the last few years huge progress has been made in satellite technology enabling scientists to monitor atmospheric particulate matter (PM) over continental scales. Weather forecasts have long been a staple for people planning their day and who knows perhaps in the future accurate air quality reports will help people make decisions as they go about their daily lives?"
Enviro Technology predicts the Government will have to make improving air quality a key priority in 2012 and needs to encourage local authorities to communicate air pollution levels to the community in a clear and concise manner and advise how air quality can be improved by making simple behavioural changes such as encouraging people to get out of their cars and use public transport more.
Steve Read continued: "Emissions from road traffic are still the most significant source of air pollution in the UK due to the levels of NOx and PM10 it emits. This pollution is released at street level where it is inhaled by those who live and work or visit densely populated urban areas. These particulates and NO2 air pollution are invisible killers and it is vital that the public is made aware of how they can reduce their exposure to harmful pollutants and take positive steps to reduce emissions.
"It is our hope that 2012 will be a landmark year for improvements to air quality when the general public is educated and informed about the issue, local authorities are empowered to make a real difference at a regional level and the Government makes solving the issue a key priority."
Enviro Technology is a leading supplier of air pollution monitoring systems for ambient air quality and industrial emissions applications. For further details about Enviro Technology visit: www.et.co.uk
For further information please email Enviro Technology Services Plc