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Air Pollution Predicted to Kill Over 160,000 People a Year by 2030

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More than 160,000 Brits could die every year due to heart attacks and strokes related to air pollution, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The charity has claimed that unless the UK government takes action now, the number of deaths related to air pollution will soar over the next decade. According to the BHF, currently around 11,000 deaths a year are caused by air pollution. But with worsening air quality and an ageing population, there could be around 160,000 a year – or more than 40 every day.

The BHF has urged the government to adopt World Health Organisation guidelines within the next ten years. Policies that the government should consider include increasing the transition to a reliance on renewable energy and promoting the uptake of electric vehicles.

“Every day, millions of us across the country are inhaling toxic particles which enter our blood and get stuck in our organs, raising our risk of heart attacks and stroke,” said Jacob West, executive director of healthcare innovation at the BHF. “Make no mistake – our toxic air is a public health emergency, and we haven’t done enough to tackle this threat to our society.

“We need to ensure that stricter, health-based air quality guidelines are adopted into law to protect the health of the nation as a matter of urgency. Clean air legislation in the 1950s and 1960s, and more recently the smoking ban in public places, show that government action can improve the air we breathe.

“Decision-makers across the country owe it to future generations to help stop this alarming figure from becoming a reality. That’s why we are urging people to contact their MP and demand a change in the law.”

Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director of the NHS, said: “The climate emergency is also a health emergency, with thousands of avoidable deaths and hospital admissions every year linked to air pollution, which is why the NHS is playing its part by taking action to reduce carbon emissions, including cutting traffic by reducing the need for millions of hospital appointments through better services.”

The Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We all know the impact that air pollution has on communities around the UK, which is why the government is stepping up the pace and taking urgent action to improve air quality.

“Alongside our Clean Air Strategy, which has been praised by the World Health Organisation as an ‘example for the rest of the world to follow’, our landmark Environment Bill will include a commitment to a legally binding target on fine particulate matter which will improve the quality of millions of people’s lives.”

Fergus Cole
Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.

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