A young girl from the United Kingdom became the first person to officially have air pollution listed as a cause of death, due to a fatal asthma attack in 2013. Legal experts believe this could open the door to lawsuits by pollution victims and their families. Estimates are that between 28,000 and 36,000 people will die as a result of toxic air pollution every year in the UK.
The girl, Ella Kissi-Debrah, lived 25 metres from a major road in south-east London and died in February 2013. She had been taken to the hospital nearly 30 times to treat her Asthma and suffered from numerous seizures. During the investigation surrounding her death,her mother said she would have moved if she was told that air pollution was contributing to her daughter’s ill health.
“Every single number that goes into these studies is a single person dying,” said Professor Sir Stephen Holgate referring to the often-quoted statistics of 28,000 to 36,000 individuals who die each year as a result of toxic air pollution in the UK.