AIR pollution could kill 160,000 people over the next ten years, a charity says.
The British Heart Foundation warns of more than 40 deaths a day from heart attacks and strokes linked to poor air quality.
BHF said there are an estimated 11,000 deaths per year at the moment but this will rise as the population continues to age.
Bosses want Britain to adopt tough World Health Organisation guidelines and meet them by 2030.
EU limits for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution, which the UK meets, are 25 micrograms per metre cubed as an annual average. WHO limits are tougher at ten micrograms per metre cubed.
The BHF said PM2.5 has a “seriously detrimental effect to heart health”, raising the risk of heart attack and stroke.
There are an estimated 11,000 deaths per year linked to air pollution but this is expected to rise as the population continues to age.
The BHF’s Jacob West said: “Every day, millions of us across the country are inhaling toxic particles which enter our blood and get stuck in our organs, raising our risk of heart attacks and stroke.
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“Our toxic air is a public health emergency and we haven’t done enough to tackle this threat.”
Last year a government study showed meeting WHO guidelines on air pollution is “technically feasible” in most areas of the UK by 2030.
NHS chief Prof Stephen Powis said: “The climate emergency is also a health emergency. Tackling air pollution needs to be everyone’s urgent business.”