Mancunians and Salfordians may be breathing in air that could condemn them to an early death as research shows that forty four UK cities breach World Health Organization guidelines on air pollution.
The figures published by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and Lancet Countdown show Salford and Manchester both failing the test for their air containing the fine sooty particles whose breathing in leads to heart disease and ultimately premature death.
Salford’s air contains 15 particles per 100 cubic meters of air, Manchester 13, the limit is 10.
The cost across the UK is put at 40,000 premature deaths a year and six million sick days according to the research.
The problem dates back to the ‘pea soupers’ that blighted lives until coal-fired power stations were barred from urban areas in the 1950s. But the researchers said the bulk of the harm had shifted to diesel emissions, creating an estimated total social cost of £22.6billion a year.
Dr Toby Hillman, one of the report’s authors from the Royal College of Physicians, said: “There isn’t a safe limit for the amount of pollution that’s been defined as yet and we know the effects of poor air quality run from cradle to grave; it’s a lifetime threat to human health.
“This is a really direct and tangible impact on UK health from the drivers of climate change, and taking action on air quality should be a priority.”