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How we can reverse the 33% rise in UK asthma deaths- part 2.

Woman suffering respiration problems sitting on a couch in the living room at home

Over the last 10 years there has been a 1/3rd rise in the number of people dying of asthma attacks. Last week we sent part one of the solution -health care (1.) Today we deal with air pollution.

Please watch this video called Air Quality’s Impact On Childhood Asthma (2.)

A very easy way to reduce air pollution at minimal cost-the walking bus Have you ever noticed how much the traffic dips when the school kids go on holiday? Why not make reduce the traffic like this all year round? According to official figures (3) there are 1241221 kindergarten children in London.

Now when you look at the walking bus (4) you can see an obvious solution. Two adults go to the first kids house pick the kid up and then walk to the 2nd kid’s house. The process is continued until they get to school. The kids talk to one another, they are under supervision, they get some exercise and it cuts down traffic. If you look at the videos on this newsletter you will see that there are mobile phone apps where you can track your children!

Please check out this video (4.)

Mankind is facing two terrible challenges.

The first is obesity. For the first time in history, we have a generation where parents are outliving their children. We live in a society that breeds obesity. Believe or not if you live in the West your government wants you to be obese. It is very much in your government’s interest for you to die early.

The second is global warming. As CO2 levels rise then we have a catastrophe on our hands. CO2 absorbs heat. As it does so the world’s temperature will rise leading to the melting of the ice caps and the world’s weather will change. Droughts will occur. We’ve had wars of oil supplies in the past. I don’t care what the politicians say you can’t tell me that there wasn’t an oil component to the Gulf wars. However, in future, there will be wars over water and food supplies. However, we have a weapon that can combat both. It’s the bicycle.

Let’s look at the differences.

Cost

In 1991 one of the big motoring organizations produced a video called Car care. This video showed that the average running of a car was, in those days 35p a mile, taking into account wear and tear, depreciation, road tax, petrol, insurance, finance charging and servicing. The taxman allows 44p per mile to allow for this.

A bike costs a lot less than that. There is no road tax, very little insurance, finance charging and servicing is very cheap.

Pollution

Cars pollute –no matter what you say. They produce all sorts of pollution. Bikes produce zero pollution.

Parking

In the space, it takes to park one car you can park around 4 bikes. Car parking is very expensive.

Congestion

By definition, cars can cause considerable traffic congestion. However, bikes do not cause congestion. I must digress and tell you the story of one incident when I was a student. My housemate used to drive to lectures. Just bear in mind you can walk from our house to Sheffield University in about 15 minutes. She set off at 0745 for a 0900 lecture because of congestion and the time taken to get a parking spot. I left the house at 0840 and on my way to lectures I passed her! As I went past her car I knocked on the window. Needless to say she was not impressed.

Wear and tear of the roads

Cars cause a lot of wear and tear on the road. Bikes cause very little wear and tear. I have often wondered what our road repair and maintenance bill would be like if we all cycled or walked.

Speeding

Lots of car drivers break the speed limit. Unless you are super fit it’s very hard for a cyclist to break the speed limit!

Cycle no less than a meter from the kerb

However ensure you cycle safely. The key to that is to cycle no less than one metre from the kerb. There are four reasons for this. If you are flush against the pavement and a car goes past the wind effect can knock you over. There tends to be glass and potholes at the edge of roads. If you go past a T-junction and you go past and a car pulls out you have had it. Lastly if you go past a parked car and someone opens a door you’ve had it!

Bike lease schemes

Several public authorities do bike lease schemes (5),(6) under such schemes your employer buys a bike for you. You cycle to work and hire a bike for a nominal sum per week. At the end of the lease period you can buy the bike for a nominal sum.

Indeed Leicester encourages this and their website says “Our bike park in Town Hall Square offers secure indoor parking for bikes, as well as shower and changing facilities, a bike shop, repairs and cycle hire. (6)

A lesson from the past

Up until the early 1980s buses in Sheffield were super subsidised. The maximal fare was 5p. All it cost was £1 per week in your rates. Traffic was negligible. Everybody used buses. It would take a LOT of work and investment but it would be the best way of cutting down the problem. I applaud London Mayor Sadiq Khan for freezing prices on Transport for London and the London underground for the next four years. That said I agree with President Trump in that he’s doing a rotten job on other things.

The future

Water powered engines and alcohol powered engines are the way of the future but they are very bulky and in some cases take up so much room that only two people can fit in a car. It’s not practical if you have a family! They need some development.

Biodiesel

I am amazed that more people don’t look at biodiesel. It’s a damn sight cheaper than normal diesel.

The future for drivers is grim

If you see the my website http://www.cheaperpetrolanddiesel.co.uk then you’ll see that fuel prices are likely to rise by at least 10p a litre over the next few months.

Conclusion

To my mind, it’s relatively easy to cut down traffic pollution but I doubt any politician will listen to these sound arguments.

Bibliography

1. Let’s reverse the 33% rise in Asthma deaths over the last 10 years https://medium.com/@james_4450/what-we-can-do-to-reverse-the-rise-in-asthma-deaths-4eef8973d580

2. Air Quality’s Impact On Childhood Asthma https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymIhcvVA3M8

3. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2017

4. Benefits of the Walking School Bus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONgPbqC5coI

5. http://www.bikehub.co.uk/featured-articles/cycle-to-work-scheme/

6. https://www.leicester.gov.uk/transport-and-streets/cycling-in-leicester/cycling-facilities/

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