“The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes. Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution; the evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe.” So says said Maria Neira, director of WHO’s Department for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. This new report from WHO means that air pollution is now responsible for more deaths globally than smoking, diabetes and road deaths combined.
About half the deaths are from outdoor pollution caused by vehicle exhaust poisons and factory emissions. The health costs of air pollution in the greater metropolitan Sydney area alone have been estimated at over 2 billion dollars annually – most of Sydney’s pollution is from motor vehicle exhaust (see the MEC page on health issues).
That’s 2 billion tax dollars being diverted from other necessary spending in order to tackle the problem of vehicle exhaust. Shouldn’t we be spending appropriate amounts of money eliminating this health threat and changing our road transport fleet as quickly as possible to zero localised emission vehicles?