Clean Air Day 2023: Action on air pollution

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This Thursday (15 June) is Clean Air Day 2023, which is organised by environmental charity Global Action Plan to raise awareness of air pollution and its impact on health and the environment.

This year’s theme calls on supporters to visit the charity’s Clean Air Hub in order to Learn, Act and Ask to encourage positive action to tackle air pollution in Britain.

Deadly health impact of air pollution

Air pollution is caused by industries like energy and manufacturing; transport including cars, trains, and planes; agriculture; and human behaviour such as smoking.

One of the most harmful pollutants is nitrogen dioxide (NO2). UK law states that a maximum of 40 microgram of nitrogen dioxide can be concentrated in every cubic metre of air, but reporting has shown that this limit is often exceeded.

Environmental organisations such as ClientEarth have also highlighted that the 40 microgram limit is higher than the World Health Organisation’s updated recommendation of 10 micrograms per cubic metre.

Tragically, somewhere between 28,000 and 36,000 people die every year in the UK as a result of air pollution, with the government’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities describing it as “the largest environmental risk to public health”.

In a landmark 2020 court ruling, a London Coroner’s Court found that the heartbreaking death of asthmatic Lewisham 9-year-old Ella Kissi-Debra in 2013 had been caused at least in part by the polluted air and excessive NO2 levels she was exposed to, living near London’s South Circular dual carriageway.

Air pollution is also understood to cause 1% of all cancer cases in Europe, and 2% of all European cancer deaths, with 9% of all lung cancer deaths being traced back to air pollution alone.

Learn, Act and Ask to stop air pollution

In 2019, the UK Government published its Clean Air Strategy aimed at tackling air pollution, which includes guidance on things like wood burning stoves that release polluting material into the air.

Earlier this year it also launched a consultation on an updated Air Quality Strategy which will equip local authorities to tackle air pollution.

For Clean Air Day 2023, Global Action Plan has asked supporters to ‘Join the Conversation’, and to encourage their local councils or authorities to take clean air action by emailing or writing to local councillors to find out what their plans are to fight air pollution.

They also call on everyone taking part in Clean Air Day to start by familiarising themselves with the health impact of air pollution, and to take steps to reduce personal contributions to pollution by walking, wheeling or using public transport to get around.

Legal support for ill health from air pollution

Phillip Gower is a Director of Novum Law and a specialist lawyer dealing with personal injury and respiratory disease cases, including occupational asthma, carbon monoxide poisoning, and asbestos-related diseases. He says:

“We need action on air pollution more than ever, and it’s good to see Global Action Plan encouraging people to take action to tackle toxic air.

“The consequences of air pollution are life-limiting, and in some cases deadly, and it’s high time greater action was taken by those with the power to make a difference. We should strive for a society – and planet – where we can breathe in the air safely and without the risk of harm from dangerous pollutants.”

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a respiratory condition that might have been caused by air pollution, Novum Law can help. Our expert, compassionate team can support you with legal advice and help you claim compensation on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis.

For a free, no obligation chat about how we can help, call us for free on 0800 884 0777, email or complete our online enquiry form.

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