Air Pollution Causes Early Death in UK

May 8, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. emission (n.) 
[ih-mish-uhn] – the act of producing or releasing a substance
Example: Smoke emissions from cars pollute the air.

2. mortality rate (n.) [mawr-tal-i-tee][reyt] – the number of deaths in the population within a given time and place
Example: The mortality rate is increasing every year because of the people’s unhealthy lifestyle.

3. conform (v.) [kuhn-fawrm] – to be similar in some way
Example: Data from the research conformed to the government’s expectation.

4. pollutant (n.) [puh-loot-nt] – a substance that causes something to be polluted
ExamplePollutants in the air usually come from smoke produced by vehicles.

5. sector (n.) [sek-ter] – a part or division
Example: Transportation is one sector of national development.

Read the text below.

A new study in UK reveals that road pollution causes about 5,000 early deaths every year.

Steve Yim and Steven Barrett, pollution researchers in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), claim that this number of deaths is a result of vehicle emissions.

The new study conforms to a previous report by the UK government’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP). Using different study methods, COMEAP estimated that 29,000 deaths in 2008 were due to air pollution in general. However, the MIT researchers gave a lesser figure of 19,000 deaths annually.

Yim and Barrett arrived at more specific data by identifying the mortality rates attributed to three different sectors: transport, energy, and industry. The mortality rates were then compared with atmospheric data and medical reports.

The analysis revealed that out of the three, the transport sector has the most impact on people’s health.

Although factories in the industry sector and power stations in the energy sector add to air pollution, cars and other vehicles release dangerous gases in places where more people work and stay. Thus leading to more deaths.

Yim and Barrett’s research also proposes different ways to help improve public health. These include reducing the use of older vehicles, which do not fully burn fuel and release unburned gas to the air.

Other experts recommend setting up a good public transport system to eventually remove cars from the road and lessen pollution.

But whether the UK spends money on less polluting systems or not, Barrett believes the deaths due to air pollution are already costing the UK between £6 billion to £60 billion.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What are the short-term and long-term effects of pollution?
·         What can you do to help lessen pollution in the environment?

Discussion B

·         What are the good and bad things about living in a modern city?
·         How can a modern city be a clean city?


May 8, 2012