Residents of the residential estates surrounding the North Mole power station have been voicing their concerns on social media and privately, in relation to the fumes and effects of pollution being experienced on a daily basis.
The GSD notes the readings published by Pollution Watch Gibraltar, the readings are being taken independently from a balcony at Sir William Jackson Grove (Gib 5) as there are currently no air quality monitors in the district. The statistics make worrying reading. Take the readings from this morning for example the latest snapshot published yesterday: The measuring units on this instrument is parts per billion (ppb). The daily limits set by EU Directives is 106 ppb or 200μg m-3, with this limit not to be exceeded more than 18 times in one year, every hour during which levels exceed 106 ppb constitutes one breach, meaning we are probably exceeding the annual limits in one day!
Between the readings obtained from the North Mole area and those actually registered by the air quality monitors from the Embargoed for first editions for Thursday 13th December 2018
Department of the Environment in the South District, our air quality is in breach of this regulation.
Shadow Minister for the Environment Trevor Hammond MP said “We are always closely monitoring the situation, however, the level of complaints received in recent days has become unprecedented with persons complaining of physical consequences, mostly respiratory issues. High levels of Nitrogen Dioxide are not isolated to the North Mole alone, with residents in the South District also expressing concern. We cannot be complacent or attempt to point fingers, instead we must take heed of the situation and attempt to resolve contributing factors where possible, as radical or abrupt as it may require, but the health and safety of our community must come first before that of any commercial interests.
It is true to say that, we, as a community must embrace a social partnership to do our best, identifying and acknowledging our obligations as members of this community, whether it’s by increasing our individual recycling, walking or even making better choices when purchasing goods… reducing our individual footprint as best as we can. We as politicians will not shrug our responsibility to always remain committed to openly explore and deliver better policies to improve our environment and air quality”
The statement was further supported by Shadow Minister for Health and Care Lawrence Llamas MP who said “There are many recent studies associating air pollution to mental health, autism, cancer, COPD, obesity, education performances… a wide variety of concerns. Some studies may be in their early stages and may not identify causes, however, others are conclusive and compelling (see references below). We therefore cannot afford to underestimate the permanent damages to our community’s health. The GSD shall be looking into statistics locally in as many areas as possible and contrast these statistics with other jurisdictions”
Dominici, Francesca et al. “Fine particulate air pollution and hospital admission for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases” JAMA vol. 295,10 (2006): 1127-34.
Powell, Helen et al. “Ambient Coarse Particulate Matter and Hospital Admissions in the Medicare Cohort Air Pollution Study, 1999-2010”
Environmental health perspectives vol. 123,11 (2015): 1152-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4629736/
Association of Prenatal Exposure to Air Pollution With Autism Spectrum Disorder Lief Pagalan, MSc1 ,2; Celeste Bickford, BSc3 ; Whitney Weikum, PhD4 ,5; et al https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4629736/
Air pollution link to obesity Katie Coyne http://www.ehn-online.com/news/article.aspx?id=17433