As we recover from Covid19 we can’t ignore or become complacent over the pressing issue of air pollution. Since lockdown there has been dramatic reductions in air pollution around the world. In the UK we saw a marked reduction in levels of NO2, a gas, which can irritate and inflame the linings of our airways.
The fact is that air pollution is a public health crisis. People who live with various lung conditions like COPD or asthma, air pollution can cause flare ups in symptoms. The British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK surveyed people who have a lung condition and discovered that almost 2 million people noticed an improvement in their symptoms, likely due to better air quality during lockdown.
Now is the time to act.
While it is good to see improvements in symptoms in such dark times, the fact is that as lockdown eases, we must not ignore air pollution and how damaging and deadly it is.
A clean air campaign called “Mums for Lungs” has recently launched a campaign to encourage parents to and children to walk, cycle or scoot to school, when they go back in September. Mums for Lungs was established in 2017 and focuses on lowering pollution in and around London – an area where pollution is a serious issue.
More campaigns around the UK like this are needed to make sure we continue to drive down pollution.
Links between air pollution and Covid-19.
According to global research it has been suggested that there is possibly a relationship between higher levels of air pollution and the increased risk of dying from Covid-19. The lockdown hasn’t only been great for reducing the spread of the virus, it’s also been great for reducing pollution, which in turn has had a positive impact on lives.
Halting of Progress.
London ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zones), which is now back in force after a brief pause has shown a 44% decrease in NO2 levels in the capital. Due to Covid-19 all existing Clean Air Zones (CAZ) proposals have been delayed until 2021 at the earliest.
Covid-19 has shown how important it is to make sure the nation have resilient, healthy lungs. We need to make sure that air pollution is kept a national priority, and that we continue to push for continual improvement in this respect.
People living in the most polluted areas need to be incentivised to leave their car at home though charging Clean Air Zones. These changes have the potential to change our relationship with the places we live, work and play.
We have produced a number of news articles recently about air pollution, and what we as a company are doing to help promote cleaner air. Here are links to a few of the most recent: