Your weekly roundup of environment and sustainability news in the UK.
Coming up: Death of nine-year-old attributed to illegal levels of air pollution, Shell supports bringing petrol ban forward, fresh hopes for the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon, we’ll be discovering what’s been lurking in Welsh sewers. After that, we’ll chat to green blogger Lisa Cole of Less Stuff about her Plastic Free July course.
The News In Green 06/07/2018
Death of nine-year-old girl linked to air pollution. The repeated hospital admissions of a girl who died in an asthma attack show a “striking association” with spikes in illegal levels of air pollution.
Ella Kissi-Debrah, from Hither Green, London, experienced seizures for three years prior to her death in February 2013. Her family are calling for a new inquest into her death following fresh evidence that air pollution was a contributory factor.
Ella’s hospital admissions from asthma attacks in her last three years coincided with spikes in illegal levels of air pollution, primarily from diesel cars and vans. Ella’s home was 25 metres from one of London’s air pollution hotspots. Her last hospital admission, just eight days before her death, was during one of the worst air pollution episodes in her local area.
The government has been breaching the law since 2010 by failing to put in place plans to reduce air pollution and reduce the public’s exposure to it.
Shell has backed calls for the UK to bring forward its 2040 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales.
The chief executive said that bringing forward the ban would provide clarity and make it easier for companies like Shell to make investment decisions and shift consumer attitudes.
Shell has responded to the rise in demand for electric cars by buying electric car infrastructure firms and beginning to install charging points on forecourts.
Tidal lagoon energy project could go ahead without UK government backing. It was recently rejected by the UK Government, who considered it too expensive. The aim was for it to lead to a fleet of larger, more powerful lagoons in around the country.
An independent review had urged ministers to press ahead with a “no regrets” proposal.
Nigel Annett, the former head of Dwr Cymru, told Sunday Politics Wales the lagoon could be built without any government subsidy, saying “The water industry, not just in Wales but across the UK, could be persuaded to pre-purchase the energy, and it would then use its financial ability to finance this project at a low cost. The end result would be that the cost of energy would be low, well below today’s market prices.”
What is in your sewers? Welsh Water is dealing with about 2,000 calls every month to remove items like wet wipes from drains. It now says the problem is so bad it should be taught in schools, so children can influence their parents.
Welsh Water removes seven tonnes worth of rubbish from one site alone every week.
Crews have found leather coats, sex toys, knickers, fish, tennis balls, stolen goods, car parts, a dead horse, a 5ft cuddly toy and 17 jars of beetroot. Yes, beetroot.
Want to know more about Lisa’s Plastic Free July course? Then you’ll have to watch the video!
Read next: The Ultimate Plastic Free Toolkit