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Smog? Really (Checks calendar, checks atlas)?

Living as I do in the drizzly north west of this sceptred isle, the recent bout of air pollution hasn't directly affected me, at least, not in the lung-burning, stroke-inducing, A&E admission rapidly rising sense. It has, however caused me no end of head scratching.

You see, the thing I can't get over is that heavy air pollution, of the put-people-in-hospital type is being reported as though it were just one of those things. Best to stop indoors chaps, air quality's lousy. Saharan dust eh? Nowhere have I seen anyone going "hang on. Air pollution? Are you having a fucking giraffe? I just checked a calendar, it's not the 1950s, I just checked an atlas, it's not one of those bits of Russia that they leave blank so the capital imperialist running dogs don't know that's where all the refineries and petrochemical plants are. Air pollution? Who fucked up?"

Where's the sense of outrage? The air is literally not fit to breathe. Whose fault is this? What can be done about it? Why is nobody even asking these questions?

In Paris, when air pollution levels rise, the government places restrictions on private transport, effectively shutting areas of the city down in order to help the air clear. In China factories are closed to avoid adding to the problem until the situation abates. In Britain, BoJo tells you to stop indoors if you're asthmatic.

This isn't good enough, air pollution levels are not a natural phenomenon, and HM Government's total inaction on it effectively says that as far as they're concerned the actions of polluters are of far more worth than the health of the general public. The cost to the NHS is incalculable (asthma alone costs a billion a year, in addition to the 3.8 billion cost in lost productivity. HMG's own figures, fact fans), and heaven help the Govt that tells people that maybe they could, y'know, walk.

It seems as though something which should have been fought for tooth and nail, air that's fit to breathe, is a right that's been ceded without a murmur, and for the life of me I can't find a single compelling reason why.


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