It’s very difficult to talk about air pollution without giving facts and figures which are difficult to understand. However here is some useful information:
To quote RiverOak (RSP) “There is health evidence drawn from the scientific literature that allows potential impacts on mortality and rates of certain diseases due to changes in noise and air pollutant exposure to be predicted quantitatively (in numerical terms). The scientific evidence shows that, depending on the level of noise or air pollution concentration, these may affect diseases of the heart, lungs and circulation system, mental health and wellbeing, and the overall risk of premature death.”
In recent years, airplane crashes have killed about a thousand people annually, whereas plane emissions kill about ten thousand people each year.
Jet fuel is actually quite similar to diesel fuel. Aircraft exhaust gasses, like car exhausts, contains a variety of air pollutants, including Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxides, Particulate Matter (or soot) and Sulphur Dioxide
Carbon Dioxide – Contributes to global warming. A plane like a Boeing 747 uses approximately 1 gallon of fuel every second and 1,200 gallons on take-off. On average, one air mile produces 53.3 pounds of carbon dioxide. One flight from New York, to Los Angeles, (about 2,450 miles) generates a little over 60 tons of carbon dioxide.
Carbon monoxide – Inhaled carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen; overexposure may be fatal. Prolonged exposure renders red blood cells ineffective, full recovery from moderate to severe CO poisoning takes hours or days.
Nitrogen Oxides – 23,500 premature deaths are linked to NO2 pollution every year. It inflames the lining of the lungs and makes them more susceptible to illnesses such as bronchitis. It affects every single one of us, but the impact on people with asthma is particularly acute. Modern diesel engines inject AdBlue into their exhaust systems, which converts Nitrogen Oxides into Water Vapour and harmless Nitrogen.
Sulfur dioxide – This is what causes acid rain.
Particulate matter – This is soot with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) They are able to bypass the nose and throat and penetrate deep into the lungs and even enter the circulatory system. This leads to premature death from heart and lung disease and can trigger or worsen chronic disease such as asthma, bronchitis. Children and older adults are especially vulnerable. Particulate filters in car exhausts (unlike on aircraft) can reduce Particle Matter emissions by more than 90%.
Thanet District Council does not currently undertake any monitoring of PM2.5, and consequently there are currently no measures in place to specifically address PM2.5 concentrations within the District.