Welcome to the West Midlands, one of the worst hit areas outside London for high levels of air pollution. The region is criss-crossed with motorways and busy industrial areas churning out pollutants all across the area. These pollutants include, but are not limited to:
1 Sulphur Dioxide – from the burning of fossil fuels and vehicle emissions
2 Nitrogen Oxides (N0 and N02) – from vehicle emissions
3 Pm10 and Pm2.5 particles – from vehicle emissions
4 Benzine – From vehicle emissions and industrial processes
5 1,3 Butadiene – from industrial processes, vehicle emissions and cigarette smoke
6 Carbon Monoxide – From the burning of fossil fuels
7 Metallic pollutants – including Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead and Mercury, from vehicle emissions and incinerators
The government’s own figures show that air pollution is responsible for almost 3000 deaths a year in the West Midlands, due to respiratory and cardiovascular disease. In 2015, Birmingham was one of 5 cities, alongside Leeds, Nottingham, Derby, and Southampton ordered to introduce a clean air zone by 2020.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Some of the pollutants mentioned above are known to be carcinogenic, such as Benzene and Butadiene
- Carbon Monoxide affects the blood’s ability to carry oxygen around the body
- 37 out of 43 UK air quality zones breached limits for Nitrogen Dioxide emissions in 2015
- Air pollution contributes to between 28,000 and 40,000 premature deaths in the UK annually
- Birmingham City Council monitors air pollution at JUST 3 locations in the region, these are –
-Along the A4540, (Watery lane middleway, corner of Keely Street)
– Acocks Green ( Shirley road near Fox Hollies leisure centre
– Tyburn (Tyburn road, near the Fort shopping centre)
In the past the main causes of air pollution were heavy industry and household coal burning stoves and fires. More recently, with the decline in industry and the widespread use of household central heating systems, the main causes are now the use of petrol and diesel in transport.
With the average household now owning 2 cars , both regularly used, there has been a huge increase in the amount of cars on the road. Between the year 2000 (27.2 million) and the year 2016 (31.7 million) there was an increase of 4.5 million cars. That’s almost 300,000 per year.
Poor air has also contributed to a rise in asthma. 5.4 million people in the UK -1.1 million children, 4.3 million adults (that’s 1 in 11 and 1 in 12 respectively). In 2014 1216 people died from asthma. 185 are admitted to hospital daily in the UK, this includes, on average , one child every 20 minutes. This is costing the NHS around £1 billion annually on treatment and care.
The quality of the air we breathe has a massive impact on our health and well being, -IT IS VITAL THAT BIRMINGHAM’S AIR QUALITY IS IMPROVED!