Air pollution caused more deaths worldwide than AIDS, diabetes and road injuries combined" and is responsible for "one in eight of total global deaths". That's more than 7 million people a year in 2012 alone, making it the single largest environmental health risk on earth.
The number of deaths in Australia is a lot higher than you might think. With our wide open expanses and park filled cities who would have thought that air pollution in Australia is woefully regulated and the current measures are utterly inadequate.
And what is even more concerning, the Commonwealth Government recently shut down the inter-governmental committee tasked with driving the national reform process to improve Australian air quality.
Where are the governments priorities. At the moment it seems to be focused on sharks. About 194 people have been killed by sharks in Australian waters in the last 224 years. Yet they are happy to spend over $5000 dollars a day culling sharks. A very drastic and unnecessary move. Yet the fact that 3000 people a year die through air pollution is swept under the carpet.
And the solution to this problem is clear. We need national air pollution laws with teeth that have real protection for everyday Australians, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. The impacts of air pollution currently falls predominantly on the poor and disadvantaged, the voiceless, the forgotten.
If our government has forgotten about these 3000 people a year, then we need to remind them. As Tony Abbotts budget has proved, the environment is not too important to him and his government. Lets tell him and his government that we are. Its up to us now.
Greg Hunt, Minister for the Environment has talked a good game thus far. I suggest we tell him that its time that he actions his big ideas. Actions after all, do speak louder than words.
Greg Hunt, We ask, no we demand better regulations and air quality control. We demand you take 3000 lives a year seriously; we demand you take air quality seriously.