Air pollution: Doctors demand action over “public health crisis”Tanaka Chitsa
Air pollution: Doctors demand action over “public health crisis”
Health professionals are demanding a new Clean Air Act setting legally binding targets for particulate levels.
Thousands of cases of asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia linked to air pollution are making the NHS winter crisis worse, the prime minister has been warned.
A group of 175 doctors and health professionals have written to Boris Johnson describing what they call a “public health crisis” with wards and GP surgeries clogged up by patients with respiratory complaints – conditions made worse by poor air quality.
The letter, published in The Times, urges the Prime Minister to use the Queen’s Speech to commit more cash as well as setting a legally-binding target to meet World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for PM2.5 (particulate matter) pollution by 2030.
The WHO guideline sets an annual mean level of PM2.5 of 10 micro grams/m3.
In the letter the medics wrote: “Thousands of children and adults are in hospital or waiting rooms with conditions such as respiratory diseases, bronchitis and pneumonia who would not be there if air pollution was reduced.
“Air pollution isn’t just associated with conditions such as lung cancer or asthma, it can also trigger heart attacks, strokes and has been linked with diabetes and depression.
“The hospitals and surgeries we work in are overwhelmed, particularly in A&E, and the severe pressures in the winter months are being exacerbated by preventable causes. This is a public health crisis.”
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