Saturday, 15 March 2014

Smog in Maidstone

Last week, on Thursday, the South East was enveloped in a smog that triggered health warnings. Maidstone Rural monitoring (at Detling) recorded high levels of PM10, the substance known to cause respiratory and heart problems.

At one point on Thursday, a 10: 'Very High' was showing across the South East (as it shows in the South West in this picture). Very high triggers the following warning to healthly people: Reduce physical exertion, particularly outdoors, especially if you experience symptoms such as cough or sore throat.

In this country 30,000 people die prematurely each year as a direct result of air pollution from traffic.

Across the Channel in Paris, they are in an equally bad state. The Parisiens are being told: "Avoid going outdoors in the early morning if you're in Paris. Avoid going out in the late afternoon. If you are over 65, or under five, you should stay indoors." The city has decided to make public transport free for the weekend to try to reduce the pollution, something that I can't see the UK doing anytime soon.

Why is it that the air that we breathe is allowed to be used as a dumping ground, rather than a precious and vital resource for our health?

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