Pollution in context

Book cover

Each one of us has a choice, individually, as to what we eat, how we exercise, where we live. have a cho

My first job, I hesitate to admit how long ago, was to take part in initiating the development and legal insistence to fit safety cabs to farm tractors – at the time we were killing 150 people a year in tractor accidents in the UK.  As a trained and qualified agricultural scientist and a Chartered Environmentalist, I would never wish to dismiss the risks we take in in farming, nor the risks we may pass on in the food we produce.  However, in the UK, we probably really do produce the safest food in the world.  I have no doubt that there will be some who argue with that but I heard on BBC News recently some interviews on pollution and lung diseases in which a professor, an internationally recognised authority and specialist in lung diseases, was asked about life-shortening risks.  He said that if you smoke, you will shorten your life by 15 years, if you are over-weight, you will shorten it by 10 years.  He added that if you smoke and are over-weight as well, then you will shorten your life by 30 years.  When asked how much you would shorten your life if you live in a city and breathe in traffic fumes, he said 30 days.

The point I make is this. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where most of us are able to make choices about what we eat, how we exercise, how we abuse our bodies. If you are one of many who complain about things here, go try it somewhere else.