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Recorder letters: Air pollution, walk for cancer, diabetes support and looking out for children

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 August 2017

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Traffic pollution needs to be addressed, says Caroline Russell.

Problems of air pollution need to be addressed

Caroline Russell, Green Party Member of the London Assembly, writes:

Fixing the problem of polluted air London needs much more than the promise of a ban by 2040, by then hundreds of thousands of people will have had their health worsened or died from causes related to polluted air. The mayor’s draft transport strategy has a specific goal of reducing the traffic on our roads. This should be the central focus for the government too – alongside measures that enable people to travel differently.

Instead of shunting the responsibility onto councils, the government should be investing in rail electrification, electric buses and networks of routes for walking and cycling. The important thing is not diesel scrappage for individuals to upgrade their vehicles, but providing incentives to get people out of their cars and onto public transport, and walking and cycling

We know diesel and petrol are poisoning our air but switching to electric cars won’t solve our pollution problem and let people trust the air we breathe.

We will still be left with street-clogging congestion, lethal pm2.5 particle pollution and the misery of road danger.

If the government had any imagination they would see the unmitigated disaster of air pollution as an opportunity to rid our towns cities and villages of the problems of congestion, parking and noise while improving people’s health and cutting NHS costs.

Support those with cancer by taking on walk

Julia Bradbury, TV presenter and Bowel Cancer UK patron, writes:

Every year, 41,200 people in the UK are diagnosed with bowel cancer, including my mum. Luckily it was spotted early when survival rates are higher and she has now recovered from the disease. Physical activity plays an important part in stacking the odds against a bowel cancer diagnosis and as a keen walker myself, I’m delighted to support Bowel Cancer UK’s Walk Together.

Walk Together is a sponsored five mile walk to bring people together so that they can show their support for those undergoing treatment, remember loved ones we have lost and raise funds to help stop bowel cancer. It’s for people of all ages and abilities.

Sign up to Walk Together in London on Saturday, September 23, 2017 or to receive a fundraising pack with everything you need to hold your own memorable walk. Visit bowelcanceruk.org.uk/walktogether

Have your say on future of diabetes support services

Roz Rosenblatt, head of London, Diabetes UK, writes:

We want people across London to help with a project to change the future of diabetes using an online survey which will help us find out what really matters to people with the condition.

At a time when diabetes is high on everyone’s agenda, this will help tell us about the issues that people with diabetes face in their day-to-day lives. Then we can make sure we are focusing on the things that really matter and can use this to make changes where it really counts.

Diabetes is one of the UK’s biggest health crises, and it’s on the rise. Some 4.5 million people in the UK are living with diabetes, and 11.9 million in the UK are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Its impact and complications can be devastating, causing blindness, amputations and even early death.

We want to know the challenges people face and hear their ideas about what needs to change. Diabetes is a serious condition, so we need as many people as possible to share their knowledge, experience and ideas to help us tackle the diabetes crisis together by improving healthcare and preventing more people from developing Type 2 diabetes this potentially fatal condition.

Diabetes UK will compile the findings along with the results of their survey into a report that can influence decisions makers including government and health care providers.

Make sure you have your say by completing the Future of Diabetes online survey at diabetes.org.uk/future-diabetes by August 31.

Speak up if you see a child at risk

Colin Peak, NSPCC regional head of service, London and South East, writes:

For most children the summer holidays equal fun and spending time with their family.

But for some young people the long break is when they are most at risk of being taken abroad and forced into a marriage.

In 2016/17, Childline provided 205 counselling sessions to girls as young as 13 about forced marriage – a 12 per cent increase from 2015/16. The same year, there were 6,099 visits to the Childline forced marriage page.

Children told counsellors they were frightened of being taken out of the country for marriage and reported emotional abuse by their parents because they believe resisting the marriage would bring shame and dishonour on their family.

In some instances children may have been told that they are going on a normal holiday and do not realise that they are heading to their wedding day with a complete stranger. Once they are abroad they may find themselves isolated and find it difficult to raise the alarm and halt the marriage.

No child should be forced into marriage and we must be clear that, regardless of cultural expectations, this is a crime and an abuse of human rights.

The secretive nature of forced marriage combined with feelings of loyalty to family and community can mean it is difficult to grasp the true scale of the problem.

To help us break the cycle the NSPCC is urging anyone – including potential victims – to speak up, so that we can step in and stop a child being bound into something that they would never ask for.

Adults can contact the NSPCC helpline, 0808 800 5000. Children can call Childline on 0800 1111 so they can be given support and measures can be taken to stop them from being forced into marriage.


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