Poor suffer most from pollution
Sunday 09 May 1999
Painting a stark picture of two nations in exposure to industrial contamination, the report shows only five of the biggest and potentially most dangerous factories in England and Wales are in areas where the average household income tops pounds 30,000 a year - compared to 662 in places where the annual income is under pounds 15,000.
About three quarters of the most hazardous industrial processes are carried out in areas with below-average incomes, says the report, Pollution Injustice, to be published by Friends of the Earth. In London, 90 per cent of all the biggest polluting factories - and in the north east 80 per cent - are in such areas.
On Teesside, one small area - Seal Sands, where families have an average income of just pounds 6,200 a year - has 17 big factories.
The report says the 1,320 biggest polluting factories in England and Wales emit more than 10,000 tons of cancer-causing chemicals a year. "There is clear inequality in risk of exposure to a range of health threatening pollutants, [but] very little research has been done on their effects on poor people," says the report.
One study of 27 poor estates on Teesside showed a link between industrial emissions and deaths from lung cancer. And few of the poorest people enjoy economic benefit from the factories, for example, by being employed in them.
Charles Secrett, executive director of Friends of the Earth, said yesterday: "This study shows what we have suspected for a long time that environmental issues are about public health and social justice.
"It is those among the poorest in our society who have to put up with pollution on a daily basis."
The study is pioneering, because up to now environmental groups have paid little attention to how environmental degradation affects the poorest Britons.
Other, sparse, evidence shows that 86 per cent of those disabled by asthma, which is aggravated, if not caused, by air pollution, come from the three lowest social classes, and that children in poor parts of Bristol have twice as much lead in their blood as middle-class ones.
But neither environmentalists nor the Government have done much to address the link between pollution and poverty.
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...