London isn’t the best place to take a deep breath right now. Lambeth’s Brixton Road broke annual air pollution limits in only five days in 2017, with other areas likely to follow. Campaigners and even a spokesperson for Mayor Sadiq Khan are calling for action to curb dangerous pollution in the city.
The law in London is that hourly levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) must not pass 200 micrograms per cubic meter more than 18 times in one year, but Brixton Road already broke those limits. The Lambeth location won’t be the last; Oxford Street, the Strand, and Kings Road in Chelsea are three other pollution hotbeds, and The Guardian said Putney High Street exceeded the hourly levels in 2016 more than a staggering 1,200 times.
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Diesel vehicles are the “single biggest source” of London’s air pollution, according to Greenpeace. The activist organization recently flew a masked Mary Poppins over Parliament to call attention to the dire issue that puts children and adults’ health at risk. They noted air pollution isn’t just concentrated in London: “Last year, people in 169 different places in the UK – from Calderdale to Caerphilly – breathed illegal levels of pollution.”
ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews, who resides in Brixton, told The Guardian, “This is another shameful reminder of the severity of London’s air pollution and shows why the mayor has rightly made tackling it a top priority. It is absolutely essential that he now delivers on his promises and that the national government back him to the hilt.”
It’s time for London to clean up its air, and Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he’ll double funding, spending £875 million – or over $1 billion – over five years to combat the issue. Let’s hope that money’s well spent.
Via The Guardian
Images via DAVID HOLT on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons