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What's the real cost of air pollution?

What's the real cost of air pollution?

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An Expert Position Statement released by the Melbourne Futures Centre and endorsed by the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance consisting of The Heart Foundation, Cancer Council of Australia, Kidney Health Australia, Diabetes Australia, the Stroke Foundation, the Lung Foundation Australia and Asthma Australia suggests traffic pollution in Australia may be a cause of up to 11,000 premature deaths each year. If that were the annual road toll, we’d be outraged. The 2022 road toll in Australia was 1187.

Vehicle exhaust is a cocktail of fine particulate matter such respirable black carbon and toxic gases like nitrogen dioxide. Fine particulate matter is any solid particle less than 2.5 microns in diameter, can be generated through natural and human processes, and is small enough to enter the blood stream and hence find its way to organs of the human body. Nitrogen dioxide is a gas and formed in the process of high temperature combustion, typically the internal combustion engines of motor vehicles. In urban areas, motor vehicles are the major source of nitrogen dioxide.

The impact of air pollution is not evenly distributed across the population. Geographic location, socio-economic status, age, underlying health conditions and disadvantage all contribute to the effect of exposure. The Position Statement especially highlights the vulnerability of the development of unborn children and children.

The Position Statement contains a number of recommendations which include public awareness campaigns and prevention strategies that if enacted would very likely reduce and limit the impact of vehicle emissions.

Source The Age Friday 24 February 2023

Click here to access the Melbourne Climate Futures Expert Position Statement – Health impacts associated with traffic emissions in Australia.

 

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