Pollution - ‘doctors must act’ call, after new report.

Pollution – ‘doctors must act’ call, after new report.

This week’s British Medical Journal, the mouthpiece of doctors in the UK, is urging doctors to campaign on air pollution and to lead by example “using cars less and walking and cycling more.”

In an issue dedicating an editorial and four articles to air pollution, including an interview with London’s mayor Sadiq Khan, it focuses on the damage to our health caused by poor air quality. It cites a King’s College study which found that ‘ most London hospitals and clinics exceed air pollution limits.’ Of 995 sites in inner London, 596 (60%) exceed EU standards for nitrous oxide levels. Researchers Holgate and Stokes-Lampard note that ‘air pollution is one of the biggest health challenges of our day’ (they cite a DEFRA estimate of 44,750 – 52,700 premature deaths annually in the UK) but optimistically point to the achievements when health professionals kick-started a national movement after  smoking was identified as a killer. Advertising cigarettes is now banned in most countries. 

Sadiq Khan tells the BMJ that he wants to see more electric vehicles, including buses, and more space given to people who want to walk and cycle also saying his ambition is for all Londoners to walk or cycle for at least 20 minutes a day.

In an article entitled ‘Time to put a brake on polluting motor vehicles, Robin Russell-Jones provides a 20 point plan to tackle vehicle pollution which starts off with “encourage drivers to walk or cycle, particularly on short journeys.’ http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j2713