RCP supports Clean Air Day 2019

As part of the RCP's commitment to highlighting the dangers of air pollution, we supported Clean Air Day 2019 in Liverpool.

Air pollution is something which affects each and every one of us, and poor air quality plays a major role in many modern health challenges, including cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, obesity, and changes linked to dementia. We want to let people know about the effect air pollution has on their health and what they can do about it.

Alongside Liverpool City Council, we brought together stakeholders from Liverpool and the wider region for a seminar to discuss how clinicians, members of the public and stakeholders can work together to improve the quality of the air we all breathe. Throughout the day, a special ‘Smog car’, supplied by air data specialists ET, was also on patrol to give an accurate picture of the city’s smog hot spots.

The Air Quality Monitoring Vehicle was in the city for 48 hours to provide real time mobile data and supplement the information collated earlier in the year by 40 static temporary monitoring stations.

40,000 UK deaths a year attributed to the effects of air pollution

In response to Clean Air Day, Professor Stephen Holgate, RCP’s special adviser on air quality said:

'It’s fantastic to see a growing focus on the importance of air quality, coupled with innovative ways of educating the public on the harms of pollution.

'The damage caused by air pollution affects people at all stages of life, from a baby’s first weeks in the womb to the later years of older age. The annual mortality burden in the UK from exposure to outdoor air pollution is equivalent to around 40,000 deaths.

'What we need now is for people to take action. This might mean driving less frequently and walking or cycling instead, or simply opening a window when cooking at home. The smallest things can make a huge difference to the quality of the air we breathe.'

An increase in evidence linking pollution to adverse health led to the publication of Every Breath We Take in 2016. This report, led by the RCP and produced by a working party chaired by Professor Holgate, revealed that 40,000 deaths in the UK each year are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution.