According to a (British) Government report issued by the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants air pollution hastens the deaths of between 12000 and 24000 British people a year and is associated with an annual toll of between 14000 and 24000 hospital admissions and re-admissions - causing sufferers and their families untold amounts of misery and costing our health service & taxpayers £billions.
A report published by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy - CSP - suggests that the PM10 air particles which are emitted mainly by diesel engines pose such a serious threat to public health that the World Health Organisation (WHO) believes there is NO SAFE exposure limit. The CSP's analysis revealed very high levels of this dangerous pollutant - not just in London but throughout the UK. The full story can be found this link .
50 years after the clean air legislation resulted in the ending of coal sourced smogs the air that we breathe in our towns and cities is yet again so heavily polluted that yet again people are suffering ill health (and even dying) from it.
Electrically powered street-based public transport (trams and trolleybuses) would help alleviate the problems of air pollution - not just in the street domain but also within the wider global context. Their widespread introduction would also help us in Britain meet our commitment to cutting carbon dioxide emissions. The House of Commons environmental audit committee says that carbon emissions from transport are 'still moving in the wrong direction' but apart from clobbering motorists with yet more taxes the govt. has failed to find effective ways to entice people out of their cars.
Because there is no need dig up roads trolleybuses could be introduced very quickly (and without disbenefitting any other road users) - and by attracting car users who would not switch to motor buses electrification of our urban bus routes could help both reverse the upward trend (in carbon emissions) and reduce overall road traffic levels.
A nationwide programme of bus electrification here in Britain would help us justify to the other members of our planet-wide family of nations the urgent need for similar policies for improving both the global and their local environments.
It would also "add value" to people's daily lives - something which current British government transport & environmental policies totally fail to do.
The topic of air pollution is also looked at on the Advocating Electric Transport for London page.
More information on trolleybuses' proven ability to attract people who will not use motor buses can be found on the Electric Buses page.
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