So the 2019 Air Quality report has been released. This though informs us about the air quality in 2018. However, we ask Folkestone & Hythe District Council, and the Cabinet Member responsible for Air Quality, Cllr Lesley Whybrow (Green), when the 2020 air quality report will be released showing the 2019 data, as this has been in the public domain since July 2020 on Kent Air’s website.
We congratulate her for having Folkestone & Hythe District Council publish the Air Quality Report July 2019, which gives the data for Nitrogen dioxide, or NO2 for 2018.
As the 2019 data has been in the public domain for close to three weeks, we ask why Folkestone & Hythe District Council have not yet published it? Other Council’s in Kent have published their 2020 data.
The 2019 data – as published by Kent Air – shows that six sites across the district have seen an increase from the 2018 data. It also shows two sites have been added, Dixwell Rd and Seabrook Rd.
All the reports for air quality also speak about PM2.5, but what is PM2.5?
PM2.5 refers to the size of the pollutant in micrometres. Micrometres have this symbol: µm and are equivalent to 0.001 millimetres. The smallest thing that the average human eye can perceive is about 0.1 millimetres, which is around the same width as a human hair. So in order for us to see something as incredibly small as a micrometre, we need to use powerful microscopes. Here’s a diagram from the Environmental Protection Agency to help you visualize the scale of these tiny particles.
While it is obvious that breathing in any particles in the air is going to aggravate your airways, experts are particularly worried about PM2.5 particles as they are small enough to pass through the lungs, and enter the bloodstream.
Each air quality report produced by the Council mentions PM2.5, as we said, but this is not monitored in our district. The July 2019 report (which gives the 2018 data) states:
The 2017 fraction of mortality attributable to PM2.5 pollution in Folkestone and Hythe is 5.3%, which is slightly below the national and South East’s average of 5.3% and 5.1% respectively. [Spot the mistake?]
In the last four years the trend for fraction of mortality attributable to PM2.5 has been rising across our district.
This is an environmental and health tragedy and the Shepway Green Party are silent on the matter.
Also, PM2.5 will have different long and short term negative health effects. When exposed to levels of PM2.5 between the moderate – hazardous range, one may experience the following effects:
shortness of breath
eye, nose and throat irritation
excessive coughing and wheezing
diminished lung function and lung disease
diminished heart function, sometimes resulting in heart attack
PM2.5 also damages the environment by increasing acidity in the soil and water bodies. Which in turn affects their ability to produce food and support life.
The growing body of research shows there is “compelling” evidence that air pollution significantly increases coronavirus infections, hospital admissions and deaths, according to the most detailed and comprehensive analysis to date.
And we don’t here a peep out of the Shepway Green Party District Cllrs on the health side or the environmental side.
It’s clear to us that the party which alleges to care about the environment really doesn’t care at all, as they’ve said nothing and have got nothing to say, hence why we honestly believe the Shepway Green Party flatter to deceive.