Finally, some traction, after many years of talking about the health impacts of ambient air pollution. As I proposed in this Sydney Morning Herald article last week, we should be grateful to VW for putting this issue on the front page of our newspapers. AMA WA also arranged for me to do a lecture last week to their members on this topic. Also thanks to Adrian Glamorgan at RTR FM for this interview.
Outdoor (or ambient) air pollution is clearly a major public health problem even at levels regularly experienced in Australia cities, with an estimated 1590 deaths from fine particulate matter in our 4 biggest cities, about 50% more than national road traffic accident fatalities. This is of course just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to overall health impacts which hospitalise many more with heart attacks, heart failure, asthma and respiratory disease and lung cancer.
Concerningly, our air quality standards and our vehicle emissions standards are not as good as other developed countries. Agreement has previously been made to tighten these standards, but perhaps due to opposition from affected industries, government appears to be dragging their feet.
This is really unacceptable when Australians are dying and suffering preventable health problems from air pollution.