Paying attention to air pollution is now more important than ever. It contributes to around 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year and the health implications cost the UK up to £ 17 billion a year, equating to £283 million a year for Birmingham.
The problem with air pollution is that it is invisible. Therefore, many people are not even aware of the danger surrounding them. The health problems resulting from exposure to air pollution have been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity and changes linked to dementia.
Air pollution is not only toxic to our bodies but also to our environment. The biggest cause of air pollution is traffic. On average transport is responsible for 80% of exhaust emissions. It can contribute to eutrophication of waterways that damages aquatic life and can lead to ground level ozone that damages crops, through chemical reactions with volatile organic compounds.
This year, The Government decided to implement five Clean Air Zones around the UK by 2020.
The aim behind these is to improve air quality in the UK and meet climate change targets.
Birmingham is to be one of those five cities. Based on that, national government provided a public consultation which needed to be submitted by 9 December. We examined the details of the given framework and gave an extensive response.
Simultaneously, we have set ourselves the target of raising peoples’ awareness and providing them with insights and potential solutions in regards to our current air quality in Birmingham. By spreading the facts of air pollution via social media we can reach and inform people- but it is certain that our work is far from over yet.
In order to reduce air pollution in Birmingham we need to have a comprehensible and realistic approach on how public transport in general can be regulated with the outcome of cleaner public transport in order to reduce car dependency.
Therefore, we are aiming to take further campaigning steps in 2017 to win the fight against air pollution long term!