Air pollution is anything that makes the air more toxic and damaging to our health. Air pollution can affect all parts of our bodies, including the health of our lungs, heart, the brain and unborn children.
Some people are more at risk and may be affected by pollution even on lower pollution days:
- Children are more at risk than adults because their lungs are still developing. They also breathe faster, which means they take in more polluted air. Being exposed to pollution as a child increases the risk of developing asthma and COPD as an adult.
- Older people are more at risk, particularly if they have long-term lung conditions or heart disease.
- Air pollutants have been found in the blood of unborn babies.
So what types of air pollution am I talking about?
1 Nitrogen Dioxide or NO2.
2 Particulate matter – PM2.5 and PM10
Our Council only measure the first. They publish this data. It shows during lockdown the amount of NO2 fell across all locations in our district where it is measured. This was due to less car journeys. However, the evidence shows it is rising again in certain locations.
NO2 is produced during the combustion of fossil fuels, such as petrol and diesel
NO2 exacerbates the symptoms of those already suffering from lung, heart conditions and asthma. NO2 also causes changes to the environment. Deposition of Nitrogen to the environment both directly as a gas (dry deposition) and in precipitation (wet deposition) changes soil chemistry and affects biodiversity in sensitive habitats.
The Council do not measure Particulates – PM2.5 or PM10. It’s this I would change, if elected, as the Council have the powers under s34 of The Clean Air Act 1993 to do so. I would use them as it allows the Council to
(a) undertake, or contribute towards the cost of, investigation and research relevant to the problem of air pollution;
(b)arrange for the publication of information on that problem
PM2.5 comes from vehicle exhausts, car tyres, which produce vastly more particle pollution than exhausts, woodburners and open fires; which are the second biggest source of small particle air pollution in the UK. The more PM2.5 or PM10 pollution you are exposed to, the more likely you are to die from cardiopulmonary disease, lung cancer or contract asthma. And it doesn’t stop there. Air pollution harms foetal development and PM2.5 can be found in the blood of unborn children.
There is no evidence to identify a threshold where PM2.5 does no harm, and even those living in the least polluted areas are affected.
A vote for me, Bryan Rylands on May 4, for Folkestone Central, would if elected, allow me to bring a motion to use s34 of the Clean Air Act 1993, to measure PM2.5 and PM10 across the district.
Now imagine you a parent with a child who has asthma, or a son and daughter whose mum or dad, or grandparents suffer from COPD.
According to data from East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust, for the period 1 Jan 2018 and 31 Jan 2023, the number of people who attended one of their A&E departments for Asthma & COPD, was 13,718 people; which is equivalent to an average of more than 9 people every day, for 1,491 days.
Not all of this may be attributable to NO2, PM2.5 and PM10 but investigating the matter, will inform us what is happening, and where in the district. Then we can begin to develop solutions to mitigate this air pollution. Without the data we are in the dark.
The numbers of people who died due to Asthma/COPD across that same period was 350. One must remember people would have died at home as well.
The number of people who were given a bed after attending A&E with Asthma or COPD, was 9,357. This is 68% of people who attended with symptoms of Asthma or COPD, or 2 out of every 3 were given a bed.
And the totals for attendances and admissions over the last 1,491 days, or 4 years and one month the data covers is, 23,075.
The data is scary indeed. Hence why we need to measure particulate data – PM2.5 and PM10, and find out how it is contributing to the health issues of all residents, born or unborn.
Every residents health matters, as the first wealth is health. If we don’t collect this data we will not know what is happening, or how we can solve the problem. Every unborn child matters, every child matters, as does every adult. Air pollution does not discriminate.
So please, I ask you to vote for me on May 4, as I will do my utmost to discover the amount of PM2.5 and PM10 polluting our district, then devise solutions to minimise it. After all, the first wealth is health. Every child in the womb; every child in the districts nurseries and schools; and every adult, deserves clean air to breath.
Promoted & Printed by: Bryan Rylands, Flat D Avenay Court, Sandgated Rd, Folkestone CT20 2LN