Environment

Clean air group creates tool to help people demand stricter government targets on pollution

Clean air charity Mums for Lungs is urging the public to respond to a government consultation on air pollution targets.

A busy road with traffic

Urban areas suffer from high levels of air pollution. Image: Pixabay

Clean air charity Mums for Lungs is urging the public to push for stricter air pollution targets in an ongoing government consultation.

The charity says current proposals for environmental targets are too weak for dealing with air pollution effectively, and will “cost the health of thousands or even millions of people” in England.

The proposed target is to reduce pollution to 10mg of particulate matter (PM2.5) per cubic metre by 2040.

Mums for Lungs has created a tool to make it easy for people to respond to the consultation with requests for stricter targets ahead of the May 11 deadline.

PM2.5 is one of the most toxic pollutants in air, and comes from a number of sources, including cards and woodburning. The particulate matter can enter human organs and cause serious long-term damage to health.

Almost every part of the UK is affected by air pollution, with analysis showing one in four UK homes are surrounded by levels that exceed limits set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Around 40,000 early deaths per year are linked to air pollution.

Communities with high levels of deprivation and higher levels of residents from non-white ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be affected by air pollution. 

In 2013, nine-year-old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, who lived near the South Circular in London, became the first person to have toxic air listed by a coroner as a contributing factor to her death from an asthma attack.

Mums for Lungs has criticised the government’s proposed target on air pollution as unambitious and weak, citing WHO’s assertion that rich industrialised countries like the UK should be aiming for stricter clean air targets.

In March, The Clean Air Fund found that the majority of the UK could achieve its 2040 target by 2030 if all current and proposed policies on air pollution are implemented and fully funded. 

“This new research shows us that achieving much healthier air is possible across the vast majority of the UK by 2030 based on policies the government already plans to implement or that have been recommended by the Committee on Climate Change,” Jane Burston, Executive Director at the Clean Air Fund said. 

Alongside asking the public to respond to the environmental targets consultation, Mums for Lungs is set to launch a Twitter storm on Monday May 9 at 10am to raise awareness of the campaign.

You can join in by tweeting about the consultation using the hashtag #CleanAirNow.

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