What a surprise…..
Finally a new, big research backed by clinical data came out to tell us the obvious:
Air pollution is linked to ‘huge’ rise in child asthma GP visits.
And not only children, but people of all ages, although children are the most affected, unfortunately.
The research was conducted in south London over five years and analysed more than 750,000 respiratory consultations at GPs and inhaler prescriptions.
Overall, they said, the study demonstrates that air pollution, particularly from diesel vehicles, affects whole communities.
Read well, diesel vehicles. Because diesel vehicles produce huge amounts of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), way more than gasoline cars. NO2 is a dangerous gas known to cause asthma. And NO2 is a precursor to Ozone, another dangerous gas that is formed by the action of sunlight, especially during the warmer months. And in Greece, diesel vehicles produce huge amounts of Particulate Matter (PM2,5 and PM10) too, way more than in the UK, because they are old and often not serviced.
Athens, the city where almost half of the Greek population lives, is on the very top list of the most polluted cities of Europe in regards of NO2 and Ozone, but also Particulate Matter.
There are over 2.7 millions cars circulating in Athens, 750.000 motorcycles and 300.000 trucks. Most of these are old and very polluting – think of all those thousands of old yellow taxis and trucks that we see daily spreading out all their black fumes in front of our noses. That’s what makes the city’ s air so poor. In winter add to this the thousands of fireplaces and oil burners that they too are rarely serviced.
The study mentions for example that the average level of particle pollution in Lambeth during the study period was 21 micrograms per cubic metre of air (µg/m3).The researchers found that when this pollution was raised by 9 µg/m3 for a week, the number of child consultations for asthma and respiratory infections went up by 7.5%. For Nitrogen Dioxide pollution, the average level was 51 µg/m3, and a rise of 22 µg/m3 was linked with consultations rising by 6%.
Many municipalities of Athens but also all around the country have average particle pollution and of NO2 that are quite higher than that of Lambeth. So, if such a study were conducted over here, we would not be surprised to find out that much of our misery in terms of bad health comes from the fact that we are poisoning the very air we breathe.
And the worse of all is that no one raises the voice over this. Total silence. Both from the authorities and citizens. That’s unacceptable. It’s time that we get informed and start demanding the authorities to help us cleaning the only air we can breathe. Cleaning the air of our cities is possible and must me done ASAP. It’s just a matter of finally making the right decisions. The 2020 COVID lockdown showed us that the air improves greatly when traffic is reduced. See a study of the lockdown Air Quality improvement in 6 Greek cities recently published here.