PEOPLE living in Newport, Torfaen, Caerphilly and Monmouthshire are among the worst affected by air pollution in Wales, according to research carried out by the British Heart Foundation.

The charity has warned that living in these areas is as deadly as smoking around 100 cigarettes each year.

After declaring air pollution a “public health emergency”, the charity produced information showing where in Wales is worst hit.

The new analysis shows that Cardiff has the highest average daily level of air pollution out of all Welsh local authorities, with people living there having an increased risk of death equivalent to smoking 105 cigarettes a year. This was followed closely by Newport, where people have an increased risk of death equivalent to smoking 102 cigarettes.


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Other offenders in Gwent are Torfaen, which is equivalent to around 94 cigarettes per year, Caerphilly at 93 cigarettes per year, and Monmouthshire at 91 cigarettes per year.

Adam Fletcher, Head of British Heart Foundation Cymru, said: “Air pollution is a major public health emergency, and over many years it has not been treated with the seriousness it deserves. Unless we take radical measures now to curb air pollution, in the future we will look back on this period of inaction with shame.”

Every year around 670 coronary heart disease and stroke deaths in Wales are attributed to particulate matter air pollution.

The new figures come as the British Heart Foundation urges the next UK government to urgently adopt into law tougher World Health Organisation air pollution limits.

The UK currently subscribes to EU limits on levels of fine particulate matter called PM2.5, which are not as stringent as those set by the World Health Organisation.

The charity’s research has shown that PM2.5 can have a seriously detrimental impact on heart health, making existing conditions worse, and increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Mr Fletcher added: “As these figures show, the effect of air pollution on our heart and circulatory system is profound, and we have no choice over the air we breathe in the places we live. We’re really concerned that the UK and Welsh Governments are not taking decisive action to protect people from air pollution.”

British Heart Foundation Cymru has been petitioning the Welsh Government for over a year to introduce a Clean Air Act in Wales and adopt World Health Organisation guidelines on air pollution.