Air pollution is a global problem that needs further debate and concern, as Alexander Finlayson and Nicholas Mills discuss
- By: E Alexander, T Finlayson, Nicholas L Mills
The European Commission recently unveiled proposals to tackle the estimated nine month reduction in average life span occurring as a consequence of air pollution.12 A plethora of published articles have mooted the insidious effects of air pollution on human health and global warming. However, although the anticipated reduction in productivity of low lying developing countries is clearly a subject of immense importance, the World Health Organization already attributes 800 000 premature deaths each year to the effects of air pollution.3 Given that these deaths are principally due to exacerbations of diseases that affect the developed world, such as ischaemic heart disease and emphysema, it is not only the developing world that needs fear the effects of global fossil fuel consumption.
On the 5 December 1952, 4000 extra deaths occurred because of a massive accumulation of smog over central London.4 These concentrations of air pollution no longer exist in the United