Fly Clean

vapourImage: https://www.flickr.com/photos/leolondon/

Clouds without a silver lining

Flights aren’t just noisy, they are also a major source of air pollution. Concentrating flight paths into narrow air corridors and additional flights from a second runway represent potential significant health risks in the Weald area.

The burning of incredible quantities of toxic fuel has impacts that extend beyond the climate. As soon as airplanes leave the gate, they begin to produce phenomenal amounts of nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and cancer-causing toxics such as benzene and formaldehyde[^1]. This pollution travels miles downwind, contributing to asthma, lung and heart disease, and a large number of cancers.

According to engine manufacturer Rolls Royce, a fully laden A380 uses as much energy to fly as 3,500 family cars with corresponding levels of atmospheric pollution.

The current flight paths were set-up in the 1960s in days before the council were required to consider air quality as a consideration. We are calling on the council to study the environmental impact of the change to use within the flight paths as a matter of urgency.

[^1]: Center for Clean Air Policy and Northeastern States for Coordinated Air Use Management. “Controlling Airport-Related Air Pollution.” June 2003. http://www.areco.org/NESCAUM%20report%206.03.pdf

One thought on “Fly Clean

  1. There are also Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons (a group of compounds also known as PAHs, some are very cancerous, PAHs are aromatics as are formaldehyde and benzene), SOx (sulphur, e.g. smog, asthma and acid rain) and unburnt fuel.

    Low flying planes could be an excellent delivery system whereby PAHs, NOx, SOx and aromatics dissolve in unburnt fuel and water and then adhere to particulate matter. Many of the particles are of just the right size to deliver a toxic load to the surface of the lungs where they can be absorbed into the body. The results are not properly recorded for the South East as no one has flown in this area at the low heights these super fuel guzzlers use Also in such flight path concentrations.
    No one is testing the South East expect for tiny areas around the airports; see http://www.heathrowairwatch.org.uk/data/.

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