UK Green Party complains about government’s inaction after a recent report by the United Kingdom’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants. This study has found that air pollution is likely to increase the risk of dementia.

Carla Denyer, co-leader of the Green Party of the UK, declared:

“The true extent of just how damaging air pollution is to the health of people and planet continues to become clearer and clearer, yet both Labour and Conservative politicians seem determined to block action on so many levels”.

Greens urge the government to “help people use cleaner forms of transport”:

Referring to the COMEAP’s study, Denyer emphasizes:

“As this report shows, this inaction is seriously impacting peoples’ health and ultimately costing lives. […] Air pollution is a matter of social justice. And if the government and other regional leaders really wanted to take action on this then they would be seriously doing all they could to help people get out of their cars and use cleaner forms of transport instead.”

The UK Green Party is asking for more investment in public transport as well as walking and cycling infrastructure. They also demand to implement the so-called Clean Air Zones, published in 2017 to address all sources of pollution and reduce public exposure to them. These strategies should accelerate the transition to a low emission economy, by setting emission standards and minimum requirements:

Clean Air Zone
UK Clean Air Zone Framework

To illustrate the government’s inaction, the Greens co-leader, highlighted the 6-year delay in the implementation of the Clean Air Zone policy in Bristol.

How evidence showed association between exposure to air pollution and risk of dementia

The COMEAP, a British government research group, reviewed more than 70 studies, and concluded that air pollution is likely to increase the risk of accelerated “cognitive decline” and of “developing dementia” in older people. Pollution affects the blood flow and the brain, due to the impact of pollutants entering the circulatory system.

Research connecting pollution and mental decline has snowballed lately. Frank Kelly, Head of the Environmental Research Group at Imperial College London, stated:

“Dementia is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century”.

Specialists not involved in the report also agreed that polluted air can have significant detrimental impacts on brain health:

“Thanks to an immense amount of work in the last several years, we can say with confidence this link exists”

Brian Castellani, Durham University

When air pollution is a public health emergency

The World Health Organization (WHO) already warned that air pollution is a public health emergency. Today every home in the UK is subjected to air pollution above the WHO’s recommended levels.

As expressed by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) air pollution is responsible for more than 6 million deaths each year worldwide.

Prior to COMEAP’s findings, well-established evidence showed that exposure to air pollution also increases the risk of heart disease. Contamination damages blood vessels by making them narrower and harder, according to the BHF.

Carla Moure

Carla is a Journalist, Marketer and content creator. Born and raised in Barcelona, she moved to Canada to study International Business. She can speak four languages: Spanish, Catalan, English and French. Her areas of interests in the green field include Corporate Social Responsibility, ESG and Sustainable Development. Carla strongly believes communication is the most useful tool to shift minds towards a greener world.

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