1300 homes will be next door to expressway
Detailed maps of the proposed Kapiti expressway show more than 1000 homes will be within 200 metres of the road as it ploughs through coastal suburbs.
That has sparked fears among residents that air pollution will increase cases of asthma, lung and heart disease.
Anti-expressway lobbyist Save Kapiti has calculated that more than 1300 homes will be within 200m of the road.
Bianca Beach, of Spackman Cres, Paraparaumu, says the four-lane expressway will be just over her back fence.
She has two young children, and looks after four under-5s every day, some of whom have asthma.
"I am especially concerned about asthma with the fumes and dust," she said. "The expressway is going to be huge. I hope they run out of money - there must be something better the Government can spend it on."
Amanda Miratana, of nearby Greenwood Place, was also worried about the effects of fumes and noise on her three young children aged 5, 3 and nearly 1.
"Asthma is higher within Maori families," she said. "It is a concern our children could develop asthma with excess fumes."
Team Medical GP Rob Kieboom said diesel fumes were recently listed as carcinogenic by the World Health Organisation.
"Exposure to diesel fumes can lead to increases in lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, asthma, heart attacks and bladder cancer," he said. "Many of Kapiti's high population of elderly suffer from chronic lung and heart disease, which would be exacerbated by more pollutants."
Medical journal The Lancet had published United States research that children living within 500 metres of a busy main road grew up with significantly reduced lung capacity and increased incidence of permanent lung damage.
"This means every child in every house shown in the map could potentially develop permanent lung damage courtesy of this idiotic ‘road of national significance', Dr Kieboom said.
"Politicians so keen to build it should knock on every door and explain to occupants why their children should bear this burden just to allow Wellington traffic to reach Otaki five minutes quicker.
"It is insane to move more than 20,000 vehicles a day off State Highway 1 on the periphery of the district and put them smack in the middle of suburbia."
Dr Kieboom's comments follow a health survey by public health lecturer and expressway opponent Marie O'Sullivan, which concludes that anyone living near the expressway would face significant health effects.
Submissions to the Environmental Protection Authority's website close at 5pm tomorrow.
The Dominion Post