Last week in Parliament, Gerald Jones, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, attended the launch of the British Heart Foundation’s comprehensive new report on air pollution in the UK.
The report pulls together the latest evidence around the harmful impact air pollution has on our health and how much progress has been made to improve air quality.
At the event, Gerald heard from BHF-funded Professor Mark Miller, who outlined how air pollution can affect heart and circulatory health. The effects of air pollution can restrict the movement of blood vessels, which can increase a person’s blood pressure and put strain on their heart. It can also make your blood more likely to clot, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The UK currently subscribes to EU legal limits on fine particulate matter air pollution, also (known as PM2.5). However, these are not as strict as the guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), which the BHF is calling for the UK Government to adopt in the Environment Bill, reintroduced to Parliament last week.
WHO guidelines state that PM2.5 levels should not exceed an annual average of 10 micrograms/m3. At the event, Gerald learned that the average level of PM2.5 in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney constituency is 7.34 micrograms/m3, ranking 444 out of 650 constituencies in the UK.
“I have read with interest the BHF’s new report on the harmful effects air pollution has on our health. It is concerning to see the levels of fine particulate pollution in our area and across the UK.
“While this does not exceed the WHO guideline limits, it is clear that decisive action must be taken in tackling this serious public health problem.”