The Government’s plans to reduce one of the most harmful types of air pollution do not go far enough or fast enough, said the chief executive of a green technology company which has developed technology to help tackle the problem.
George Eustice, the environment secretary, proposed that the limit on fine particulate matter in England should be cut by 2040 from an annual average of 20 micrograms per cubic metre of air to a new limit of 10.
Due to their size, fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, may enter the bloodstream and be transported around the body, reaching the lungs, heart, brain and other organs. Exposure can result in serious health impacts, especially in vulnerable groups of people such as the young, elderly, and those with respiratory problems.
The new Government target has been criticised as “incredibly weak” by Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, the mother of Ella, the first person in the UK to have pollution listed as a cause of death.
And Ben Richardson, Chief Executive of greentech company SulNOx Plc, said he believed the Government should be doing more – and doing it more quickly.
“The technology already exists to significantly reduce air pollution which costs the UK economy over £20 billion every year,” said Ben.
“It is pleasing that the Government is addressing air quality, but these measures do not go far enough. The limit of 10 micrograms per cubic metre of air was recommended by the World Health Organization back in 2005, and that was reduced to 5 last year after evidence that particles harm human health at much lower concentrations than previously thought.
“Analysis shows that over seven years, half a million people have died from causes including asthma attacks, exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia. Hospital admissions for lung conditions have doubled in England and Wales from 1,535 per 100,000 in 1999 to 3,143 per 100,000 in 2019.
“This is a public health crisis and needs a robust response.”
London-based SulNOx Group specialises in providing responsible solutions towards decarbonisation of liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Its fuel additives, which are also available for retail purchase, reduce the production of harmful emissions including particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5. In tests, its products have been shown to reduce PM2.5 by up to 60%.
Ben said: “We have the technology to help tackle air pollution today, not in another generation. In fact, it was recently reported that our unique technology can mitigate emissions and pollution equivalent to five million cars in the UK alone without technical or scalability barriers. This degree of impact cannot be ignored in our time of health crisis or climate emergency for that matter.
“We are in talks with numerous organisations at local, national and international level, about how we can help them reduce their environmental impact and their impact on air quality.
“We already partner with a number of organisations which have provided us with evidence of reduced particulate matter emissions both in tests and in the real world.”
The range of SulNOx Group’s green products includes the revolutionary SulNOxEco™ Fuel Conditioners, which improve combustion in light fuels including gasoline, regular diesel, marine diesel oil (MDO), marine gas oil (MGO), biofuels including hydrotreated vegetable oils (HVO) and kerosene. Industries currently benefiting from using SulNOx include haulage, van fleets, shipping, oil companies, fuel storage and distribution, waste/reclamation, mining, generators, agriculture and construction.
Mr Richardson said: “Our business strategy is underpinned by an urgent need to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases. It has never been more important for everyone to do their part.”