Air quality crisis: 7 shocking statistics that will take your breath away

With a plethora of recent reports highlighting the devastating extent to which the issue of air pollution is impacting the health of UK citizens and the world population in general, edie takes a look at the shocking statistics behind the coverage.

The global air situation has been firmly back in the spotlight in the last few weeks. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has made severe warnings that the issue is far from solved in many countries, with the global health impacts in danger of intensifying in the decades to come.

The current outlook looks equally as bleak on a domestic level, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently revealing that 10 UK towns and cities, including London, Glasgow and Eastbourne, are failing to meet international air quality standards.

New Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged a raft of new green proposals and vowed to work with the UK Government to tackle air pollution on a national and international level, in order to address an issue which is allegedly ‘claiming tens of thousands of UK lives a year’, and led to the capital breaching its annual pollution limits in just one week.

The UK’s ‘woeful’ approach to tackling air pollution has resulted in ClientEarth being granted permission to present a case to the UK Supreme Court on 18 and 19 October this year against the UK Government over its ‘failure’ to meet deadlines for legal limits on air pollution.

The issue has gained significant traction in the build-up to the European Union (EU) referendum, with environmentalist groups insisting that air across the country would be at risk if the UK opted out of EU membership on 23 June.

Regardless of the referendum outcome, improved action in certain areas will require greater political will to tackle this “global public health emergency”. To put the increasingly prevalent crisis into perspective, edie has pulled out some shocking statistics that will quite literally take your breath away.

George Ogleby

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie