74% of the UK Want Stronger Pollution Rules

74% of the UK Want Stronger Pollution Rules

Air pollution is not just on our streets; it’s on the minds of the majority of the UK population. The issue is no longer confined to the realm of environmental activism or public health advocacy – it has infiltrated the consciousness of the public and created a wave of opinion that demands stronger governmental action.

An Alarming Consensus

Coinciding with the launch of World Athletics’ global Every Breath Counts campaign, is the release of a survey by the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS’) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN). Every Breath Counts is an initiative that encourages youth across the globe to pledge their support for clean air by aligning with WHO targets through a signed declaration. The OPN poll reveals that 74% of residents want the Government to enhance air pollution targets and monitoring. Asthmatic symptoms linked to pollution affect 45% of people, while worries about the toxic atmosphere’s impact on outdoor activities have risen to 53%.

Around 79% of women expressed being very or somewhat worried about climate change’s impact, higher than the 72% of men who shared similar concerns. People aged 70 and above were less likely to report high levels of worry compared to younger age groups. While 24% of individuals over 70 were very worried, 37% of those aged 25-34 and 34% of individuals aged 35-49 felt similarly concerned. The level of worry (very or somewhat) across age groups showed no significant difference.

The findings in Great Britain align with the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Public Attitudes Tracker’s results from surveys of UK households. In March 2020, about three-quarters (76%) of UK adults expressed varying levels of concern about climate change. A survey by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) from 2019 to 2020 revealed that 78% of adults were very or fairly concerned about the environment; however, there was no specific question on climate change concerns.

David Rudisha, an Olympic champion and Every Breath Counts spokesperson, emphasises the campaign’s importance in addressing air pollution risks impacting health and future athletes in Kenya and beyond. Involving participants from the US, France, and India, the campaign’s study found that 65% feel their governments are not addressing air quality adequately. Globally, 85% believe clean air is a fundamental human right. India tops concerns about air pollution hindering physical activity. Recent data indicates India leads in air pollution-related deaths due to wildfires exacerbated by heatwaves and rising temperatures across various states.

Dieselgate and the Road to Accountability

The Dieselgate scandal has been a watershed moment in the environmental movement. It shook public confidence in regulatory authorities and car manufacturers alike. The environmental and health implications of the millions of vehicles involved in the scandal have been severe, with actual Volkswagen emissions far exceeding legal limits.

This betrayal of trust has had a profound impact on public perception and a direct correlation with the UK populace’s call for stricter air pollution standards. Dieselgate has become a cautionary tale, a story of corporate misdeeds at public health’s expense, fuelling the push for more rigorous oversight and stringent enforcement of environmental laws.

The Need for Unified Environmental Action

With such a prominent mandate from the public, there is an imperative need for policymakers to act decisively. The call for stronger pollution rules is a clear directive, one that demands unified action at local, national, and international levels. It requires coordinated efforts to transition to cleaner energy sources, reduce vehicular emissions, and enforce stricter industrial pollution controls.

Environmental activists and health advocates have long been at the forefront of this battle, campaigning for cleaner air and a greener, healthier planet. Now, with the backing of the public, their voices carry an even greater weight, serving as catalysts for change and holding leaders accountable for protecting the environment and public health.

The Role of Businesses and Individuals

The onus of environmental stewardship is not solely on policymakers but also on businesses and individuals. Companies must adopt sustainable practices, invest in green technologies, and adhere to stringent environmental standards. The public, too, has a role to play, whether through advocating for sustainable policies, supporting eco-friendly initiatives, holding car manufacturers accountable through diesel claims, or making conscious consumer choices.

Every action, no matter how seemingly small, contributes to the collective effort to mitigate pollution. From carpooling and cycling to work to consuming less and recycling more, individual choices can make a significant impact on reducing the carbon footprint and improving air quality.

The Way Forward

The future of our planet depends on the actions we take today. With most UK residents and a significant portion of the European public championing the cause for cleaner air, there is a compelling case for change. It is time for concerted and effective strategies that will lead to a healthier, more sustainable environment for current and future generations. Click here to learn how you can make a difference.

Article written by admin

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