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Briton’s don’t have the foggiest about air pollution

23rd September 2019
Posted by Aston Avery

Dirty air remains out of sight and out of mind, and whilst exposure in the UK has reduced over the last half century thanks to cleaner energy technologies, improved vehicle regulation and clean air zones in our cities, we’re only learning now just how dangerous toxic air can be.

New research released today by E.ON – ahead of the week-long Global Climate Strike – highlights that nine in 10 people (88%) admit they are confused about air pollution. In fact, over a quarter (27%) don’t think air pollution affects parks and green spaces and one in eight people (13%) don’t think it affects them at home.

The majority (63%) of people say they don’t know enough about air pollution and the same percentage admit they put air pollution to the back of their mind because it’s invisible. This lack of awareness explains why, on average, people can confidently name one air pollutant, whilst almost half (47%) don’t feel comfortable naming any.

Those in big cities say they put up with air pollution due to the convenience of living where they do (24%), to be close to family (23%) and proximity to work (17%). Eight in ten (81%) say that they don’t feel like they have a choice but to live in an area with poor air quality with a further majority (82%) revealing they are worried about the risk to health from breathing in toxins.

Aston spoke to Professor Iain Stewart, professor of geoscience at the university of Plymouth & unesco chair at geoscience & society to discuss the research and the issues British society is facing as a result of increasing air pollution.