Clean Air Day 20th June 2024

Air pollution is linked to 43,000 deaths per year in the UK. The World Health Organisation and UK Government recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental threat to our health. The combined or joint effects of ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution exposure cause about 7 million premature deaths every year from increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections.  

Economic expansion and technological progress are hallmarks of our modern society. They have enabled populations to enjoy the highest standard of living ever achieved. But these important trends of the 20th century, coupled with the trend of increasing urban population, have had many unplanned and unwanted side effects on our health and welfare. Air pollution is one such side effect. The sources of air pollution are numerous and varied. They include such activities as the burning of fuel to produce heat and electric power, the use of motor vehicles, the burning of refuse, and the manufacture and use of such staples of modern life as steel and other metals, paper and chemicals. Solutions include more sustainable methods of travel such as cycling and use of electric vehicles. London has recently seen the introduction of the ULEZ scheme which aims to cut emissions from older polluting vehicles.

The Clean Air Day webpage brings together resources for individuals and community groups to take action in improving their environment. Initiatives include an online petition and media packs for local authorities and schools to raise awareness. The petition calls on government to make walking, wheeling and cycling safer and ensure that everyone can access public transport that is reliable, affordable, and efficient. 

The Library collections contain print and online resources on the topic of air pollution. Resources can be found by searching in the Library’s search tool, Discover. A selection of books on this topic are on display in the Library’s Reading Room as follows:

Brimblecombe, Peter, and Robert L Maynard. The Urban Atmosphere and Its Effects. London ; Imperial College Press, 2001. Print.

Cole, Jennifer. Planetary Health : Human Health in an Era of Global Environmental Change. Oxfordshire, UK ; CABI, 2019. Print.

Dalbokova, D, M Krzyzanowski, and S Lloyd. Children’s Health and the Environment in Europe : A Baseline Assessment. Copenhagen: World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, 2007. Print.

Davis, Devra Lee. When Smoke Ran like Water : Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle against Pollution. New York: Basic Books, 2002. Print.

The Mayor’s Draft Air Quality Strategy for Public Consultation. Greater London Authority, 2001. Print.

Hutchinson, Emma, and Sari Kovats, eds. Environment, Health and Sustainable Development. Second edition. London: Open University Press, 2016. Print.

Krzyzanowski, Michal, Birgit Kuna-Dibbert, and Jürgen Schneider. Health Effects of Transport-Related Air Pollution. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2005. Print.

McGranahan, Gordon, and Frank Murray. Air Pollution and Health in Rapidly Developing Countries. London ; Earthscan, 2003. Print.

Thorsheim, Peter. Inventing Pollution : Coal, Smoke and Culture in Britain since 1800. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2006. Print.

The Federal Air Pollution Program. [Rev. ed.]. Washington, D.C: [For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O.], 1967. Print.

 Air and Health. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe [and] European Environment Agency., 1997. Print.

Health Aspects of Air Pollution : Results from the WHO Project “Systematic Review of Health Aspects of Air Pollution in Europe”. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2004. Print.

Effects of Air Pollution on Children’s Health and Development : A Review of the Evidence. Copenhagen: World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, 2005. Print.

“Air Quality Guidelines : Global Update 2005 : Particulate Matter, Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide and Sulfur Dioxide.” Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2006. Print.

Health Risks of Particulate Matter from Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2006. Print.

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