Slight Increases In Air Pollution Linked To Depression And Anxiety

A study by King’s College London indicates that people living in urbanised areas are more susceptible to the effects of damaging toxins released by pollution.

The study, led by Dr Ioannis Bakolis is filled with both good and bad news. Good news because we now have one more motivation to move away from fossil fuels. Bad news as the effects are troublesome to many living in crowded cities and long term damage may have already been done.

Dr Ioannis Bakolis, Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London, also the lead author of the paper said: “The findings suggest that people exposed to high levels of air pollution over a long-period of time are more likely to experience poor mental health. Air pollution is not the only factor that may have an impact on the presence of mental disorders, but it is a preventable one.”

Although air pollution may have dropped in cities like London, there is still much work to do to mitigate the damage being done by the transport industries and environmental pollution.

Under the Conservative party, the UK government is set to miss many of its environmental goals and recent analysis shows that they will miss several as reported by Greenpeace’s Unearthed. Tom West, UK environment lead for Clientearth told them: “without a separate binding obligation not to row back from existing environmental standards, there is a risk that the government could relax commitments relatively easily, in the future. That’s why we need a legal commitment to non-regression on environmental standards in primary legislation”

Considering recent changes in climate, the government have a moral responsibility to reduce the impacts of pollution. This can easily be achieved alongside existing climate obligations to avoid ecological disaster, though whether there is an interest inside parliament to do so remains to be seen.