Pollution public health campaign launched in Liverpool

Let’s Clear the Air Liverpool has been launched outlining the steps people can take to mitigate the impact of air pollution in Merseyside.

With poor quality air contributing to approximately 230 deaths each year in a region the size of Liverpool, the public health campaign outlines the stark health consequences of pollution caused mainly by road traffic and aims to raise awareness and advise on actions that can be taken to reduce personal exposure to air pollution, reduce personal contribution to air pollution and support actions to improve the quality of the air in the city.

The campaign highlights that people can breathe in twice as much air pollution inside their car than they would do outside, diesel exhausts contain up to 30 times more air pollution than petrol and that air pollution can worsen asthma and breathing problems.

Therefore it is advising that people walk short journeys when possible, park away from nurseries and schools when dropping off and picking up children, turning car engines off when it is stationary or parked and to close windows during rush hour if living on or close to a busy road.

Sandra Davies, Liverpool’s director of Public Health, said: “The level of air pollution has a considerable impact on the health of the population of Liverpool. Long term exposure to air pollution contributes to deaths from heart disease, stroke and lung diseases, in combination with other risk factors such as smoking.

“It contributes to around 230 deaths per year in Liverpool and while everyone can be affected, children, the elderly and those with heart of lung conditions are most susceptible to harm. There is no safe level of air pollution and reduction of pollutants is good for health. People can take steps to reduce their exposure by choosing to walk or cycle away from busier roads. Air pollution inside your car can be especially higher especially in slow-moving traffic, so walking can be a good way to reduce your exposure as well as improving your fitness and being good for your well-being.”

James Noakes, cabinet member for highways, transport and streetscene, said: “Liverpool’s a growing city and, as with other cities, we have high levels of traffic and it causes 70 percent of the pollution in the city. We know we have to lead by example, for example by changing our fleet of vehicles to be greener, encouraging hackney drivers to move over to less polluting vehicles and working with Merseytravel to deliver a better and cleaner bus service.

“We’re looking to reduce traffic congestion in key areas – like the Strand, new Islington and Bowring Park Road by the Rocket – and making improvements to roads and walk ways to encourage people to walk and cycle more. This is just the start of our programme. Air pollution crosses council borders, so we’re working with our partners across the city region and have also joined other cities as part of the UK 100 initiative to demand changes fight for those actions that can only be realistically implemented carried out by central government, such as a national scrappage scheme for diesel vehicles. We want Liverpool to have the cleanest air because we want people to live longer and poor air quality is impacting on the quality of life for residents.”

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