Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, BMA board of science chair, said:
“This Clean Air Day (Thursday 21 June) we need to have a conversation about how the air we breathe poses significant risks to our health. Doctors are increasingly aware of the impact pollutants have on the respiratory system, and their role in heart disease, diabetes and dementia.
“Tackling the overuse of cars and lorries by expanding clean air zones is a priority, and improving information for consumers on carbon emissions and promoting physically active transport through cycle lanes and safe walking spaces could see vast improvements in air quality.
“In the long term, our members want to see a fully-funded, energy efficient infrastructure which facilitates environmentally friendly behaviour, and legislative changes to phase out fossil fuels.
“In their workplaces, doctors want an NHS, one of the country’s most energy-intensive organisations, to become a renowned example of energy efficiency, using clean providers, on-site renewables and environmentally friendly transport.
“Further research into the economic and health impacts of air pollution and climate change would lay the bedrock upon which these new laws are built. With no time to spare, doctors will advocate for improving air quality; the conversation must start today.”
Notes to Editors
The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
- Read the BMA's position on air pollution and climate change here.