The Mayor of London has revealed that every area of London exceeds recommended guidelines for levels of dangerous toxic particles called PM2.5. These results appeared in a report which has shown 7.9 million people to be living in areas which exceed World Health Organization air quality guidelines. PM2.5 are known have health impacts with both long and short term exposure. Effects include an increased risk of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases as well as a higher risk of exposed children having reduced lung function and developing asthma. PM2.5 is also responsible for 29,000 premature deaths in the UK every year.
London mayor, Sadiq Khan is committed to tackling issues of air pollution and has signed up to Breathe Life coalition, where London will work with other world cities to reduce toxic pollutants being emitted. Khan is determined to bring pollution levels to be within WHO levels by 2030. Achieving these goals will require cooperation and collaboration between governments and cities around the world. This is will require an effort to promote a societal shift away from private transport towards public, walking, cycling and new technologies such as electric cars.
Sadiq Khan says: “this research is another damning indictment of the toxic air that all Londoners are forced to breathe every day. It’s sickening to know that not a single area of London meets World Health Organisation health standards, but even worse than that, nearly 95 per cent of the capital is exceeding these guidelines by at least 50 per cent.
“We should be ashamed that our young people – the next generation of Londoners – are being exposed to these tiny particles of toxic dust that are seriously damaging their lungs and shortening their life expectancy. I understand this is really difficult for Londoners, but that’s why I felt it was so important that I made this information public so people really understand the scale of the challenge we face in London.
“I am doing everything in my powers to significantly reduce NOx emissions by introducing the T-Charge to drive down the number of dirty vehicles polluting our roads and our lungs and implementing an Ultra Low Emission Zone with even tighter standards. I also urge the government to devolve powers to me so I can get on with tackling the dangerous toxic air particles – known as PM2.5 – that we know come from construction sites and wood burning stoves. It’s measures like these that we need to get on with now to protect our children and our children’s children.”