By Councillor Waseem Zaffar MBE - Birmingham City Council
By the time you finish reading this, you will have taken about 60 breaths.
It’s not something you will have thought about or even been conscious of; after all it’s something we do every minute of every day to keep us alive. But for some people, every breath puts their life and health at risk. Every inhale increases their risk of cancer, heart or lung disease. Every gasp makes the threat of premature death more of a reality.
It’s not because of something they are doing. It’s because for millions of us, the air we breathe is toxic. You can’t see it. You can’t smell it. And you can’t taste it. But it’s there, infiltrating our lungs and contributing to the premature deaths of between 28,000 and 36,000 people across the country every year.
Unlike smoking, you don’t choose to inhale poisonous substances. Nor can you escape it by walking into another room. It surrounds us, especially here in Birmingham, where up t...