“Ban cars outside UK schools to tackle air pollution, teachers say”; “Toxic air will shorten children’s lives by 20 months, study reveals”; “The city I love is making people sick – London mayor”.
The headlines tell the story: with seven million deaths a year attributed to air pollution, the situation is bad and getting worse. It’s a problem that scientist Dr Mark Broomfield – who has a PhD in atmospheric chemistry and has specialised in air quality and health for nearly 30 years – addresses in Every Breath You Take: A User’s Guide to the Atmosphere, his first book.
Drawing on science and personal stories, Broomfield asks questions from the specific (are diesel cars as bad for the environment as they are portrayed?) to the far-reaching (will our grandchildren still have an atmosphere worth breathing?).
Broomfield doesn’t restrict himself to Earth: he takes you on a journey to distant planets – the book starts on one four hundred million million kilometres away – to the ozone layer and to ‘lazy’ and ‘disappearing’ gases. As the song says: “Once I get you up there, where the air is rarefied...”