50,000 deaths a year: An “toxic air pollution crisis”: Sign the Petition

10 June 2016 — 38 Degrees

A public health emergency: that’s what MPs are calling Britain’s air pollution crisis. [1] Thousands of lives are cut short every year from toxic air polluted with chemicals like nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide. [2] There’s even evidence that it’s permanently damaging our childern’s lungs. [3]

But we’ve got a chance to end the emergency. In ten days’ time, ministers across Europe will meet to agree new laws to cut air pollution – but British politicians are deliberately blocking them. If the deal falls apart, lives will keep being lost. [4] But if we cause a public outcry, we could force our politicians into agreeing to cut toxic pollution.

The meeting is our final chance to agree the deal to clean up our air – so we’ve got little more than a week. If thousands of us sign a huge petition now it could start an avalanche of criticismthat will embarrass government ministers into action.

Please can you add your name?

Toxic air causes up to 50,000 early deaths a year from breathing problems like asthma, heart disease, strokes and other health problems. [5] It’s a crisis that’s causing tragedy after tragedy and is draining our NHS of essential resources. [6]

The dangerous air we breathe is made here in the UK and in countries like France and Germany. [7] So whether Britain votes in or out, a deal that stretches across Europe could save lives.Whatever happens in the UK, other countries would legally have to cut their pollution, making our air cleaner. [8]

A huge petition will shine a spotlight on this issue – and show them that our health is too important to be left to backroom deals.

So please can you add your name to the petition calling on the government to clean up our air?

Thanks for being involved.

Lorna, Laura, Tom and the rest of the 38 Degrees team

PS: 38 Degrees isn’t taking sides in this referendum. Whether Britain leaves or remains, 38 Degrees members will keep campaigning for a fairer and safer planet.

NOTES:
[1] The Guardian: MPs: UK air pollution ‘is a public health emergency’
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/27/uk-air-pollution-public-health-emergency-crisis-diesel-cars
[2] The government’s own data has found that air pollution causes between 40,000-50,000 deaths a year.
See for example: The Guardian: UK air pollution causes 50,000 deaths a year, say MPs
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/mar/22/air-pollution-deaths
BBC: UK air pollution ‘linked to 40,000 early deaths a year’
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35629034
An explanation of what chemicals are in air pollution can be found here:
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: About air pollution
https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/air-pollution/causes
[3] The Telegraph: Air pollution stunting children’s lungs, study finds:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/laura-donnelly/11953613/Air-pollution-stunting-childrens-lungs-study-finds.html
[4] The government has been lobbying the EU to weaken air pollution proposals.
Government ministers from across Europe will next meet on 20th June to try to agree more ambitious plans.
More info can be found here:
The Guardian: EU dilutes proposals to have air pollution deaths after UK lobbying
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/03/eu-dilutes-proposal-halve-air-pollution-deaths-uk-lobbying
[5] See note 2
[6] Experts have estimated that the adverse impact on public health caused by pollution costs the UK economy more than £20bn per year, which is just under 16% of the current annual NHS budget of around £116bn.
NHS Choices: Air pollution ‘kills 40,000 a year’ in the UK, says report:
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2016/02February/Pages/Air-pollution-kills-40000-a-year-in-the-UK-says-report.aspx
[7] Meteorologists have said that pollution is ‘imported’ from urban parts of Europe which adds to local pollution produced in Britain.
For example see The Guardian: Air pollution spike across England sparks warning from health charities
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/10/air-pollution-spike-across-england-sparks-warning-from-health-charities
[8] See note 4

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