Ibrahim Dogus writes on LabourList: By the eighth day of this year, London had already breached annual air pollution limits set by the EU. By September, the situation had deteriorated to the extent that mayor Sadiq Khan was forced to trigger a emergency high alert on the capital’s air quality, with warnings displayed in public and those with lung and other problems warned not to engage in strenuous exercise to avoid any health problems.
High levels of NO2 can lead towards asthma, heart problems and even cancer. But bad air isn’t just bad for our health. It is a drain on the economy, with six million workdays lost to sickness related to, or exacerbated by, the problem. It has been estimated that illness associated with air quality costs Britain more than £24bn per year – and that is before the additional pressure on our already strained health service is taken into account.
Evidence shows that spikes in air pollution may also see a dip in workplace productivity, exacerbating one of the economy’s chronic problems. A better environment, with improved quality of air, would be a boost to the entire economy in addition to our health.