New UK Clean Air Bill 2022
Poor air quality can lead to a number of health problems, including an increased risk of asthma, cardiovascular diseases and even death in the first year of an infant’s life. In addition, we also know all about transmission of airborne viruses during the covid pandemic. Fortunately, the UK government is taking this issue seriously with the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill, which seeks to improve air quality in England and Wales.
Since it’s such an important change in the country’s protocols, it’s wise to fully understand what it means. As such, you can read on to discover more about this new piece of legislation and how it will affect you and your wellbeing.
What Is the Clean Air Bill?
The Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill is a bill to establish the right to breathe clean air. It requires the Secretary of State to achieve and maintain clean air in England and Wales and to limit the concentration of pollutants in the air in accordance with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
The bill requires the UK government to implement targets recommended by the Committee on Climate Change for limits on pollutants that directly contribute to climate change. It also places duties on certain national authorities to work towards cleaner air and establishes environmental principles that the government and national authorities must follow.
Why Is the Clean Air Bill Needed?
Although the UK already has statutory limits for certain pollutants, these are not as stringent as those set out by the WHO and therefore need to be changed.
Currently, an estimated 4,000 Londoners die from breathing polluted air each year, with 28,000 to 36,000 UK annual deaths from air pollution and seven million deaths globally. Furthermore, CO2 emissions from cars make up 13% of the UK total and are expected to rise to 35% by 2030.
Dr. Maria Neira, the World Health Organisation Director for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, said: “These days we have overwhelming evidence that air pollution harms health, more than enough evidence to justify actions to reduce exposure. You imagine the incredible number of lives we will save.”
With her words in mind, improving air pollution in the UK will not only save lives but will subsequently save money as well by reducing the burden on the NHS and minimising work absences related to poor air quality.
Why Is Air Quality Important?
If you are still unconvinced as to why this new clean air bill is needed, the below sections should help you better understand the importance of good air quality, both indoors and out.
Generally, an adult breathes an estimated 15,000 litres of air every day. When you breathe polluted air, pollutants can get into your lungs as well as into other internal organs such as the brain via your bloodstream.
These harmful pollutants getting into your body can cause serious health problems,
including asthma, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, other respiratory conditions and even death. Vulnerable people, like children, the elderly and people with chronic diseases, are most at risk of illness from toxic air pollution.
Polluted air can also cause eutrophication and acidification of the country’s ecosystems, which can result in the loss of agricultural productivity and wildlife biodiversity.
What Are the Main Causes of Air Pollution?
The most serious threat to clean air is currently posed by traffic emissions, predominantly petrol and diesel-engine motor vehicles that emit a wide array of pollutants, including carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds.
The most common air pollutants are as follows:
· Sulphur dioxide
· Nitrogen oxides
· Particular matter (PM10, PM2.5 and PM1)
· Ozone and volatile organic compounds
· Carbon monoxide
· Lead and heavy metals
Due to their potential impact on human health, welfare and the natural environment, all of the above pollutants are continuously monitored and measured in locations all over the UK.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Whether you are looking to improve the air quality in your workplace, there are several actions you can take to reduce poor air quality. These are:
· Check the quality of air with indoor air sensors
· Keep rooms well-aired or ventilated
· Use allergy-friendly and eco-friendly cleaning products
· Prevent condensation with an extraction fan
· Keep your home or office between 19-21 degrees Celsius in colder months
· Fix any leaks or water damage as soon as possible
· Keep your home smoke-free
· Clean regularly to remove dust, dirt and other pollutants
' Utilise UVC air purifiers to remove pathogens from the air
There are also steps you can take to combat the rising levels of polluted air in the UK, including cutting down on car journeys, trying car sharing, switching to an energy supplier that uses renewable energy sources and reducing your meat and dairy intake.
Optimise the Air in Your Home and Workplace
Here at Dakro Environmental, we take air pollution seriously and work with homeowners and businesses to improve the air quality in their workplaces. We offer an extensive range of air hygiene solutions, with options to suit all budgets.
Get in touch with our knowledgeable, friendly team today and let us help you take the first step towards cleaner air.