A report has been released calling for action to tackle air pollution in Tameside.
Tameside Council’s Public Health Annual Report describes how air quality is a re-emerging 21st century public health threat.
With a higher population of residents more affected by air pollution - such as the very young, elderly, adults with pre-existing lung and heart conditions and disadvantaged communities – action in Tameside is considered more urgent and necessary.
With road traffic increasing and walking distances decreasing, the report focuses on local road traffic-related air quality issues.
Co-ordinated work is taking place across Greater Manchester through a joint Air Quality Action Plan, which will complement what’s being done in Tameside.
But the report contains recommendations designed to be simple, manageable and realistic for residents and organisations to respond to locally.
Tameside Council’s director of public health, Angela Hardman, said: “This report is a call to action, to educate ourselves, our families and the next generation about the causes and risks of 21st century air pollution and how we can protect ourselves from exposure to it.
“Imagine if our water supply was polluted and people’s health was at risk. Having a clean water supply is so normal to us in the UK today that the public outcry would be enormous. Yet air pollution carries a much greater risk to human health, and there is no safe level of some air pollutants, but it is not currently recognised as a significant problem.
“Air pollution is damaging to health and pollution rates will continue to increase unless we act. This report is the proposed starting point for local, collective action and the recommendations demonstrate that there is a role for everyone that lives or works in Tameside.”
The report aims to raise awareness of the risks of traffic-related air pollution and identify what individuals and organisations in Tameside can do to limit their contribution and exposure.
Developing cycle ways, pedestrian facilities and public transport such as Metrolink is a long-term objective.
It contains a call to action asking individuals and families to think about their exposure to air pollution, to commit to walking or cycling for shorter journeys and to switch off idling engines.
It urges communities to discuss the issue and asks businesses and employees to adopt a steady, fuel-efficient, driving style, consider Eco Driving training, use greener vehicles, promote and support car sharing and adopt practices such as video conferencing and working from home.
You can read the report at www.tameside.gov.uk/publichealthreports