Air pollution can be as bad as smoking 150 cigarettes a year, the British Heart Foundation warned this week.
Their analysis showed that living in one of the UK’s most polluted cities and towns increases the risk of an early death. They conclude that air pollution must be considered a “public health emergency”.
Residents in central London were particularly badly affected, but many residents in the East of England region are also suffering, if they live in towns such as Luton and Thurrock.
Catherine Rowett, the Green Party’s Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, said:
“Neither the shocking air quality figures across Britain, nor the public outcomes, come as any surprise to me. We have been campaigning for years for real action on the issue, but it has actually been getting worse.
“The government’s negligent attitude to air pollution has led to overload on our NHS services, children being unable to enjoy activities at school because of asthma, and the elderly afflicted with heart disease and shortage of breath. Those whose lives are stunted by air pollution deserve better.
“We demand tighter emissions controls, increased provision for cycling, walking and car clubs, pedestrianised areas, and more user-friendly public transport. Clean air should be a right, not a privilege.”