Saturday, March 11, 2006

Answers to comments...

In answer to this comment:

"Interesting question...

But are we to think you have got bored questioning the usefulness of a cement plant in Rugby in favour of old age mortality rate?

Or are you now going to tell us it may be connected?"

Thank you for your comment: not easy to answer briefly - you may be sorry you asked as this is not a joking matter.

Not only the cold, but also AIR POLLUTION is a contributing factor in the public health, (and deaths) particularly in the winter. "The West Midlands has the largest excess winter death rates of any government region." It is no secret that the highest rate of winter deaths, occur in industrial areas within the vicinity of smoke stacks. Is this mere co-incidence?

Cement plants can never be boring, and this one for example has so many moving parts and has so many thousand tonnes of materials going through it every day that always there will be "the unexpected" happening, and these incidents will lead to pollution of the various types over and above those quantities "permitted". Also you cannot possibly fail to have noticed how low over the houses/on the houses the plume is in the winter, being cooled and falling much more obviously than during the summer.

I am not saying that the cement plant is responsible for the deaths of the elderly, but they have not all gone down with hypothermia - frozen to death. In cold weather the elderly (and cold) are more likely to succumb to heart attacks and particularly to respiratory diseases, which kill them.

They also fall over on icy roads or fall over more indoors if the house gets cold and this also can lead to death. But as the report points out the West Midlands has the largest excess winter deaths of any region, but the information available in the report is far too general to draw firm conclusions. We need access to hospital and medical records, which we can relate to where these people live and the air quality and social factors which affect them. This is very difficult to do, and may be for this reason this huge glossy report has just generalised, and has not mentioned air quality as a factor at all. Also the industries are located in "deprived wards" - such a New Bilton and Newbold. At the moment they try to "re-generate" New Bilton by various means, but at all the discussions the participants were told that they could not mention the cement plant nor the air quality and pollution! Painting shop fronts may make the area look more "pretty" and picking litter will "tidy", but the fundamental problem there, which can only be addressed by one means, is air quality!

Ask anyone who lives there.

There are 180 Air Quality Management Areas declared in the country, mainly for nitrogen dioxide and particulate exceedences of the standard, and also some 13 for sulphur dioxide. Rugby has declared an AQMA for nitrogen dioxide over all of Rugby and Lawford, and although they managed (by various means) NOT to declare for particulate, especially round the cement plant, very high short-term PEAKS have been recorded. No account has been taken of these, and it is well-documented that not only are raised levels of pollution in the long term a concern, but also that raised levels of particulate for even a few hours can "cause death" for even up to 3 days later. In Rugby the toxic elements adsorbed onto the particulate are not measured, but for sure when the particulate level is raised so are the killer chemicals.

When we have more information, in a manageable form, we will post it, and we will also be considering why Rugby residents aged 65 , both men and women, have a lower life expectancy than most people in the West Midlands.

Click here for more info

1 comment:

Lilian said...

Phantom fall-out!

On Sunday 12th March people walking to church in the Conservation area of Hillmorton Road, Horton Crescent, Clifton Road, first though it was snow flakes, then dandruff, as grey dust floated down from the sky, covering the cars and iced up ponds in grey sticky dust.

The Environemnt Agency did their usual trick, and phoned Cemex, who did their usual trick of saying it could not "possibly" be from the cement plant. Simply put the wind was in the wrong direction for the WHOLE of the last 24 hours so they could not possibly be responsible. (And do not mention resuspended dust whatever you do - see Scunthorpe!)

So IF it is not the cement plant what is it that causes these frequent dust storms in Rugby? Are all other towns similarly affected by phantom fall-outs?

RBC are now investigating.