Two stories today, both of them grim.
Air pollution, a quiet killer. PM 2.5, small particulate matter that people inhale and then becomes embedded in lung tissue. We've all seen the deep hazy photos of Shanghai, Beijing, Mumbai and London (we haven't forgotten you, Toronto).
A new report warns that air pollution deaths are double previous estimates. 800,000 deaths a year. No, not worldwide. That's for Europe alone. The culprit? Fossil fuels, of course. The very stuff we're hell bent on pimping to world markets.
Here's another way to look at it. Toxic air in Europe now kills more people than smoking. Wow, that's something, eh?
The scientists used new data to estimate that nearly 800,000 people die prematurely each year in Europe because of dirty air, and that each life is cut short by an average of more than two years. The health damage caused by air pollution in Europe is higher than the global average. Its dense population and poor air results in exposure that is among the highest in the world.
The new research, published in the European Heart Journal, indicates that while air pollution hits the lungs first, its impact via the bloodstream on heart disease and strokes is responsible for twice as many deaths as respiratory diseases.So, let's cut the crap. Fossil fuels kill. They kill a lot of people and those they don't kill can also endure serious disease and disability. Now, what does that say about the really high-carbon crap - bitumen? I'll bet that you can figure that out. If we get the Justin Trudeau Memorial Pipeline and we start launching an armada of bitumen laden supertankers to Asia, we're killing people.
|Compton Bay, Isle of Wight|
Next up, plastics. We've all seen the seas of plastic debris forming in our major oceans. Plastic, it does more than just kill fish.
Dangerous sewage pathogens have been found “hitch-hiking” on plastic litter washed up on some of Scotland’s finest bathing beaches, raising concerns from scientists the phenomenon could have far-reaching implications for human health worldwide.
The findings, by the University of Stirling, have confirmed environmentalists’ fears that ubiquitous, persistent and tiny plastic beads, or “nurdles”, found on beaches and in rivers and seas around the world, act as rafts for harmful bacteria, transporting them from sewage outfalls and agricultural runoff to bathing waters and shellfish beds.\
The findings raise the potential for “cholera in India to be transported and washed up on a shore in the USA”, according to Dr Richard Quilliam, the study’s principal investigator.\
“The danger is that pathogens could be transported over large distances and survive for much longer than normal,” Quilliam said.Plastic, the gift that just keeps on giving.