Finally, Some Common Sense From Science

WHOThe World Health Organization (WHO) has just released a report that states “the leading cause of lung cancer is air pollution”. It has always been my belief that air pollution from cars and factories has been a significant cause of this and many other sicknesses, and not the smoker who was deemed by all as the ‘Evil One’. For years, doctors and scientists have been blaming smokers for all the cancers in the world with their ‘Passive Smoking’ hype and telling everyone that if as a non-smoker you get lung cancer it is the fault of those evil smokers who pollute the atmosphere. Well, at last the truth will out, and it seems we smokers are not the ones to blame for all the vile diseases in the world.

Not As Big An Evil

Not Killing Everyone In A 100m Radius As We Were Told!

I am well aware that smoking heightens the risk of smoker’s contracting lung cancer and I do not take that lightly, but I have never subscribed to the idea that to sit across the room from a smoker you are bound to get it as some will have us believe. When I was young I often went to the cinema, and because there were no restrictions on smoking, the smoke inside was as thick as fog at times. It was an every day part of life, just as in the pubs, but the point I am making is that we did not have hundreds of thousands dying of lung cancer every year like we do now, the disease was practically unheard of. It was the same for every leading nation in Europe and North America.

1950's Industrial Scene - The Price Of Burning Coal

1950’s Industrial Scene – The Price Of Burning Coal

The one major thing that changed after then was that people became more affluent and had money to buy cars, evidenced by the fact that since the 1950’s the car population has exploded until we now have over a billion cars on the world’s roads. As you would expect, this came at a price i.e. a massive expansion of the pollutants entering the atmosphere. Not only cars but also the explosion of the manufacturing industry is to blame as more and more factories started up to provide us all with the luxury goods we crave like mobile phones, electric hair-dryers, cosmetics, computers and of course cars. The number of factories in the world has risen beyond imagination when compared to those far off days prior to 1960.

Air Pollutants

Air Pollutants

From the WHO data it becomes clear that our avarice will at some time in the future be the end of us, for as we want more and more so we add more deadly chemicals to the very air that we breathe, and eventually it will kill us! Harsh words for some, but I believe prophetic.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has quoted the fast rising economic and industrial expansion of countries like China and other East Asian countries that has resulted in smog in major cities such as we saw in major industrial centres in England in the 1950’s.

Bus Conductor Guides The Bus Driver

Bus Conductor Guides The Bus Driver

I remember a time in Manchester when I was about fourteen that my father made me walk in front of the car to show him the way because otherwise movement in the thick smog was impossible. It took us several hours to travel a few miles to get home.

The catalyst in those days was that since the birth of the Industrial Revolution, every factory and home burnt ordinary coal, and it was only in the 50’s and 60’s that we learnt how to to process coal into such things as coke and other smokeless fuels. Later came the nuclear age which was the cleanest of all, but we sat with the problem of disposing of used nuclear fuel rods. Thankfully for us, such times are history, but not in the Far East.

The  Good Old Days

The Good Old Days

I find it amazing that for decades scientists have blamed the smoker for all the lung diseases of the world, and governments have willingly persecuted these people for their “Filthy Habit”, and many people give disgusted looks or shout abuse at those among us who enjoy it. I remember sitting in the front row of the smokers seats on an aeroplane when going on holiday. I was well within my rights to smoke then, but a Dutch woman in front of me turned and gave me a mouthful of abuse in a very loud voice that “I was killing her with my smoke”. Needless to say, she got short shrift from me. But all the hype against smokers has been exacerbated by continuing ‘scientific’ reports that if you are within 100 yards of a smoker the passive smoke will kill you.

The Effects Of Air Pollution

The Effects Of Air Pollution

Dr Kurt Straif, from IARC, said: “The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances. We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths.” Cancer Research UK said it was not a surprise. I am no scientist but I reported on the link between air pollution and cancer up to two years ago because to me it was obvious. Thankfully science has now caught up.

The Harmful Effects of Air Pollution

The Harmful Effects of Air Pollution

What has also come to light is that charity organizations like Cancer Research are down-playing the WHO results, probably because it will affect future donations and goes against everything they have been preaching to the masses for the last thirty years i.e. that tobacco smoke is the number one killer. Dr Julie Sharp, the head of health information at the charity, said: “It’s important that people keep the risk from air pollution in perspective. Although air pollution increases the risk of developing lung cancer by a small(??) amount, other things have a much bigger effect on our risk, particularly smoking.” (Oh yes! Let us admit we may have made a mistake, but after all it was was only a teensie weensie one wasn’t it!).

So where do we go from here? That’s a very big question with a very expensive answer! The WHO is asking governments to begin taking action to curb emissions in a big way. They can do this if they wish, but the measures required would be very unpopular with the masses who invariably know nothing of the risks to mankind’s future, and are only interested if it impacts their daily lives. Few people have the brains to look forward and imagine what our current greed is doing to the lives of our children and grand-children, and even their children.

New York City Skyline At Night - A Shocking Waste Of Power, And It's Everywhere

New York City Skyline At Night – A Shocking Waste Of Power, And It’s Everywhere

To clean up the air we breathe before it kills us all we have to make major inroads into our current way of life. It may be as some advocate, finding cleaner sources of energy but in my opinion that is a pipe dream unless you are talking about nuclear power stations. We would be far better off making huge cuts in the amount of energy we use because so much of it is pure waste, like city office blocks with all their lights on all night, garish advertising boards that stay on all night, and all the little electrical gadgets we have around the home like electric toothbrushes, hair dryers and juice mixers. They all add up to a monumental waste of all the world’s precious resources and add to the pollution unnecessarily.

One Of The Largest Polluters

One Of The Largest Polluters

Next in line is of course the motor car, for this is perhaps the biggest polluter of all with over a billion cars on the road. Some families have three and four cars between them, father, mother, son, daughter etc. There will come a time when governments will have to step in and make it law there will be no more than one car per family. Vehicles are a double danger, for not only do they pollute the air in our cities and towns, but are also consuming natural resources at an ever increasing rate, and what will you do when the oil tap is closed for the last time? Keep going on at the rate we are and I can see mankind going back to the horse as a means of transport.

Is This YOUR Child's Future Because Of Our Own Excess?

Is This YOUR Child’s Future Because Of Our Own Excess?

Whichever way you look at it, we all have to start consuming less and reduce emissions drastically if our children, and theirs, are to have a world to live in. It starts with each an every one of us – No-one else!

Roy.

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