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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Aug-18 > Our poisoned air

Our poisoned air

Labour has always been the party of jobs and social justice—but there can be no social justice without environmental justice. If people cannot breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat safe food, then society is failing us all, wherever we live. That sounds like a given, yet under this Conservative government, which remains hopelessly paralysed by Brexit, environmental and food standards are under enormous threat.

Take air pollution, for example. The Royal College of Physicians estimates that 40,000 deaths a year in the UK are down to outdoor air pollution. What’s more, those deaths are disproportionately higher among poorer people, more of whom tend to live and work in city centres. Hundreds of schools, nurseries, further education centres and after-school clubs are within 150 metres of roads with illegally high levels of nitrogen dioxide. People are being poisoned by the air they breathe.

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In Prospect’s August issue: Zoe Williams argues that the first thing we need to do if we are to remain in the EU is to tackle the reasons why so many wanted out—namely pay and conditions at home and the impact of unfettered capitalism. Prospect’s Alex Dean and Tom Clark interviewed former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg who says the liberal centre should keep the faith—there is another way to work closely with Europe, but the immigration question is central to finding that solution. Meanwhile, a group of writers including Wolfgang Münchau, Shashank Joshi and Owen Hatherley explain some of the pitfalls, prizes and things you hadn’t thought about when it comes to the UK’s relationship with the EU. Elsewhere in the issue: Former UK diplomat Tom Fletcher profiles the out-going UN human rights chief who is causing a stir by saying the things nobody else would dare. Steve Bloomfield asks what happened to Seymour Hersh—how did the legendary journalist come to echo the thoughts and ideas of Bashar al-Assad; and Phil Ball examines the crisis of male infertility asking: where has all the sperm gone?