Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/932/24247
Pollution kills 600: fight for clean air!
Tanis Belsham-Wray, Leeds Socialist Party
For ten days between March and April 2014, levels of poisonous particulates caused an extra 300 premature deaths in the UK, according to a recent government estimate.
This is on top of the expected 300 deaths from air pollution, making a total of 600 deaths that spring.
This is not a one-off incident. This December we had potentially the worst air pollution the UK has ever seen.
In France this spike led to emergency procedures including offering citizens free public transport and implementing restrictions on car usage. The rising levels of cardiovascular and respiratory problems are causing a lot of additional pressure on an already stretched NHS.
The Labour right's solution to this: punish commuters. London's Blairite mayor Sadiq Khan is proposing an additional £10 levy in certain areas of the city. Even Transport for London predicts this will have little to no effect on rising pollution in the area.
And yet the Green Alliance think-tank calculates there will be a 95% decline in investment in renewable energy between 2017 and 2020. Despite growing awareness of the issue, priority is given to the protection of profits for big business.
Only a socialist society, one that isn't dominated by the need for profit and exploitation, can organise the mass investment and integration needed to plan for the future.
Nationalise the energy companies and use the money to invest in safe, renewable energy. Nationalise public transport to create an affordable and reliable system that is a genuine option for commuters.
Run them under the democratic control of workers and service users, in the interests of the many, not the super-rich few.
In The Socialist 18 January 2017:
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