Europe fails the pollution test

The real test of a society is the value of the future which it leaves to its children. By this criteria, Europe is failing very badly. Air pollution is scarring the lives of millions of us, and it falls particularly hard on children, as this article from Fiona Harvey of the Guardian makes lugubriously clear. [1]

Because children are not little adults, as Fiona points out. They go out more. They’re closer to the ground. Above all, their respiratory rates are higher. The consequences? Asthma. Respiratory problems. Impaired mental development, If you want to know more, try this little link to the Clean Air Fund [2] Basically it adds up to about 1200 premature deaths a year. But don’t believe us-try our links. Especially if you are a parent or grandparent, and that makes you feel somehow responsible. Shame on you if it doesn’t.

But, gentle readers, when would we not leave you without hope? A little comfort, and sweet balm. The EU and associates like Switzerland are trying to do something. And we can all copy their ideas. Planting more trees and hedges, especially near school. Exclusion zones around schools-no more idling SUVs poisoning everyone else’s kids might be a fine start. The target is to reduce levels of poisons like PM 2.5 s and Nitrous Oxide by 2030. Cutting deaths by a whopping 55%, or so the EEA estimates. No mean achievement.

For decades the conventional wisdom has always been that happiness consists in spending ever more money, and in rising to ever more frantic levels of personal activity. How funny to see that real progress can be achieved by the inversion of these tattered beliefs.



#child development #pollution PM 2.5 #nitrous oxide #health

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