Eastbourne at the limit for unsafe air pollution levels, says WHO

Eastbourne is at the borderline for unsafe levels of air pollution, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 5:37 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:35 am
A tourism campaign that encouraged visitors to 'Breathe It In' came under fire as it was revealed Eastbourne has high levels of air pollution

The town reportedly has 10 micrograms of pollution per cubic metre of air – anything exceeding this level is considered unsafe.

The newly-released WHO report also found London is at 11 while nearby Brighton is also at 10.

This comes as Clean Air Eastbourne and Eastbourne Friends of the Earth (FoE) are calling for the issue of air quality to be taken much more seriously to protect people’s health and help improve quality of life.

Clean Air Eastbourne project launch (Photo by Jon Rigby)

Robert Price, founder of Clean Air Eastbourne, said, “It is disappointing to see the World Health Organisation again drawing attention to Eastbourne’s air quality.

“Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there, and that it’s not a problem.

“Our air quality monitoring project helps members of the public discover what’s in the air they breathe.”

While Andrew Durling, of FoE, said, “It’s unsurprising that Eastbourne once again appears on the WHO list of towns with air pollution issues.

“But it’s worth noting that the list is based just on data from official air quality monitors. Yet there are too few of them.

“The invaluable citizen science work of Clean Air Eastbourne, with support from Eastbourne FoE and recent funding from the Devonshire West Big Local Fund, has created an ever-growing network of air quality monitors that shows Eastbourne often has episodes of very high air pollution and that some neighbourhoods have air pollution hotspots.

“Such episodes and hotspots damage our health and demonstrate that air quality in our town needs to be taken very seriously.

“Solutions need to be worked out in collaboration with local people”.

Close to 50 cities and towns around the UK have either reached or exceeded WHO’s air pollution limits.

High pollution levels can cause diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory infections, and shorten lifespans. Pollution is estimated to cause around 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK.

To read the Herald’s detailed report on the issue, click here.