Video: Pollution in Southampton - 'We really must now act'

cleanairvidscreenshot200pxSpeaking at the launch of Clean Air Southampton , co-founder Colin MacQueen said a special 'Smogmobile' vehicle had been monitoring air quality during the rush hour, and average readings were roughly 50% above safe limits. Read more to watch our video report.



He said the Smogmobile, a zero emission vehicle which is kitted out to check pollution levels, came into Southampton earlier in the day through Thornhill, Bitterne, and over Cobden Bridge into the city via Bevois Valley.

Effect on health

SmogmobilegpDuncan Mounsor, managing director, Enviro Technology Services plc which provided the vehicle, said that poor air quality has a very big impact on public health, particularly due to damage to respiratory systems.

It's thought that approximately 40,000 people a year die prematurely because of NO2 and PM10; those pollutants are mainly from vehicle exhausts,” he said, adding that it also affects the economy because people who suffer from conditions such as bad asthma take time off work.

Colin MacQueen said that individuals could do much themselves to help with the problem, for example by making fewer car journeys.

Those are the types of small, incremental changes that are achievable now,” he said.

Measurable effects

smogmobileairratingSpeaking to the BBC, Clean Air Southampton co-founder Liz Batten said: “We really must now act, in particular to protect children's health, but to protect everyone's health, because we breathe it in for the whole of our lives, and there are measurable effects for all of us. ”

Cllr Christopher Hammond (Lab), who speaks on air quality for Southampton City Council, said during a later debate on Radio Solent that he applauded the work done by Liz and Colin of Clean Air Southampton, and “he wished more people knew about some of the dangers we have in the city through poor air quality”.

But he said he disagreed on diesel cars and thought that, even though they generate more damaging pollutants, “Getting all diesel cars out of the city would be a very tall order indeed, and I don't think that would be fair to the people who drive diesel cars in the city.”

You can hear the whole ten-minute debate on Radio Solent here from 1 hour 5 minutes in, for 30 days from the date of broadcast.

Radio Solent debate with Colin MacQueen and Liz Batten, and Cllr Hammond
Blog on launch of Clean Air Southampton on Southampton Climate Change website

'Smogmobile' will measure air quality as Clean Air Southampton launches
Video: Southampton rally calls for Paris climate change action

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