Doctors against Diesel Campaign - 9400 Premature Deaths in London this year from Air Pollution

On Saturday 10 December the Doctors Against Diesel campaign was launched in Euston Square Gardens. Hundreds of doctors, health professionals and medical students gathered wearing white coats and face masks to make clear that diesel is a health issue and must be phased out in order to protect health and save lives.

Doctors Against Diesel are calling for the use of diesel fuels to be banned in our urban areas and progressively phased out elsewhere. We want to see a future in which personal exposure to soot and gases from vehicles is dramatically reduced, and that a choice to travel actively (walking, cycling, with public transport) does not result in increased personal exposure.

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Recent modelling found that nearly 40 per cent of all NOx emissions and PM10 pollution within London comes from diesel vehicles. There is now overwhelming evidence that both long-term and short-term exposure to small particles and gases from fossil-fuel derived air pollution have major adverse consequences on health. The fact that this is an invisible and odourless killer – unlike the great smogs of the 1950s – has meant that we have been sleepwalking into a health crisis that has already claimed thousands of lives.

Jonathan Grigg, Professor of Paediatric and Respiratory Medicine at Queen Mary University, said: “Air pollution levels in London exceed legal limits and affect people’s health at every stage of life. Effects begin with changes to fetal growth before birth affecting lung development. In childhood pollution reduces lung capacity and increases the risk of asthma. In adulthood it increases the risk of death from heart and lung disease and stroke”.

Sign the mission statement to show your support

This is an essential step towards preventing thousands of lives lost prematurely due to air pollution in London each year,  as well as many avoidable cases of cardiovascular, respiratory and other diseases.

As a first call to action from our group, we are calling on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to work with the Government to phase out diesel from London by 2025, matching the commitment to tackle deadly air pollution recently demonstrated by the Mayors of Athens, Madrid, Mexico City and Paris.

Sign the mission statement to show your support

This campaign is based on clinical and epidemiological evidence that diesel harms health.

To find out more, key references include:

DOCTORS AGAINST DIESEL

MISSION STATEMENT

There is now overwhelming evidence that both long – term and short – term exposure to small particles and gases from fossil-fuel derived air pollution have major adverse consequences on health. The fact that this is an invisible and odourless killer, unlike the great smogs of the 1950s, has meant that we have been sleepwalking into a health crisis that has already claimed thousands of lives.

 

Fumes from diesel engines were categorised as carcinogenic by the WHO in 2012. We know that the current fleet of diesel cars, taxis and light vans are major contributors to locally – generated air pollution in our cities, especially London. Indeed the majority of brand new diesel vehicles are still not meeting the standards – as tests by independent agencies have shown.

 

To call attention to this public health emergency, we, professionals from across the medical and scientific community, have come together to form the Doctors Against Diesel group to voice our concerns regarding the continued use of diesel.

 

We feel that the use of diesel fuel should be banned in our urban areas and progressively phased out elsewhere. We want to see a future in which personal exposure to soot and gases from vehicles is dramatically reduced, and that a choice to travel actively (walking, cycling, with public transport) does not result in increased personal exposure.

 

This is an essential step towards preventing thousands of lives lost prematurely due to air pollution in London each year, as well as many avoidable cases of cardiovascular, respiratory and other diseases.

 

As a first call to action from our group, we are calling on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to work with the Government to phase out diesel from London by 2025, matching the commitment to tackle deadly air pollution recently demonstrated by the Mayors of Athens, Madrid, Mexico City and Paris.

Sign to show your Support


See also:

 

Alice Munro

Alice Munro

Climate, Energy & Health Project Manager at Medact
Alice manages Medact’s Climate, Energy and Health projects: including collating and sharing evidence regarding the health impacts of hydraulic fracturing, co-ordinating campaign work on divestment of the health sector, and developing work to examine the health benefits of re-investment in low-carbon energy.

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Alice Munro
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