The Current Issue

July 2019, Issue 477 Alexandra Gajda on Queen Elizabeth's banker * John Gribbin on the approaching Novacene * Felipe Fernández-Armesto on Thomas Harriot * Gillian Moore on Alma Mahler * James Delbourgo goes swimming * Ian Critchley on Howard Jacobson * Miranda France on Joanna Kavenna * David Blackbourn on culture in the Third Reich * John Keay on India in the Persianate Age * Edward Vallance on Charles I's killers * Peter Conrad on Pavarotti * Sam Leith on Mick Herron * Arabella Byrne on Lisa Taddeo *  and much, much more…

John Vidal

The Air Pollution Epidemic

Something changed in around 2012. People started talking about the air. Perhaps they heard their children wheezing, or granny told them she couldn’t climb the stairs, or they were fed up with having constant headaches. China woke up when the city of Beijing had to shut half its factories to make sure its coal-polluted air was safe enough for Olympic athletes to breathe. Two years later the great Sahara dust episode was the alarm call in Britain. After weeks of choking on traffic fumes, Londoners found their cars covered in a fine red dust. The prime minister, David Cameron, said it was fine because the pollution was natural, but nobody believed him and news desks at last started to tease out the biggest public health scandal of the past fifty years. And what a scandal! The scale of this modern plague, we have begun to see, is staggering. We have long known that nearly three million people in poor countries die prematurely each year from... read more

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