The Invisible Killer You Need To Be Aware Of

27 November 2018, 15:12

A scientist told James O'Brien that the air pollution that we breathe every day is largely invisible but killing us.

Dr Gary Fuller, an air pollution scientist at King's College London, spoke about growing concern among the scientific community for air pollution in London and globally.

Dr Fuller said that it is difficult to communicate the severity of the air pollution problem to people due to the fact that it's invisible and we've "grown used to it".

"No one dies with air pollution on their death certificate, air pollution causes people to die through other things such as heart attacks and strokes", he pointed out.

However, some deaths have been linked to air pollution in recent times, including that of nine-year-old schoolgirl Ella Kissi-Debrah who sadly died in 2013.

Air Pollution in London
Early morning smog hung over Canary Wharf, seen from Greenwich Park in London, UK on July 26, 2018 as Mayor Sadiq Khan triggered a high pollution alert for London amid concerns over extremely high temperatures. Picture: PA

When asked what he would do to tackle the problem or air pollution, Dr Fuller said he would reduce the amount of traffic on the roads, which would help tackle not just air pollution but also climate change, urban noise and the obesity pandemic.

When James O'Brien pointed out that it was a challenge to make people sufficiently fearful of air pollution, Dr Fuller agreed but then went on to say that he wouldn't necessarily want people to be "fearful" of it but rather to encourage them to "take action".

James O'Brien told the scientist that he was aware of some school playgrounds being shut due to pollution and was left flabbergasted when Dr Fuller then revealed that one study had shown that children living in polluted areas were growing smaller lungs.

Dr Fuller also went on to talk about small acts which people can do to reduce their exposure; he pointed out that taking a back road rather than a main road in an urban area will halve the amount of pollution you're exposed to for instance.

If you'd like to find out more, Dr Fuller has written a book entitled The Invisible Killer: The Rising Global Threat of Air Pollution - and How We Can Fight Back.