Every Londoner exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution
Today the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced that every Londoner is breathing in dangerous levels of toxic air particles and emissions.
Around 7.9million people, which is nearly 95 per cent of the capital’s population, live in areas which exceed the World Health Organisations guidelines by 50 per cent or more.
Every borough in London exceeds the WHO guidelines for toxic air particles.
The toxic emissions that drivers are breathing which are exceeding the legal limits is called PM2.5 (particles)
It is known to result in the premature deaths of up to 29,000 deaths in the UK every year and means that Children in Britain are at an increased risk of undeveloped lungs or respiratory issues such as asthma.
One of the biggest causes of this pollution is the toxic emissions produced by cars, specifically those with diesel engines.
The revelation was made during the Mayor’s keynote at ‘Every Journey, Every Child’ Conference at City Hall today.
New data, based on updated 2013 exposure estimates, shows that in central London the average annual levels of PM2.5 are almost double the WHO guideline limits of 10 µg/m3.
It comes just weeks before the toxin tax will be introduced on 23rd of October which will impose a £10 levy on drivers travelling in the capital’s congestion charge zone.
This tax is expected to affect 10,000 motorists travelling in and out of the capital’s city centre.
It’s sickening to know that not a single area of London meets World Health Organisation health standards
It is a precursor to the Ultra Low Emissions Zones which will be introduced in London and surroundig areas by 2019.
Sadiq Khan also signed the capital up to the Breathe Life coalition organised by WHO, UN Environment and Clean Climate and Clean Air Coalition, to connect similar world cities, combine expertise, share best practice and work together to improve air quality.
The Mayor also stated that in his commitment to reducing air pollution in the Capital, he is determined to reduce the levels of air pollution to within WHO guidelines by 2030.
A range of “hard measures” will be proposed to tackle the “unacceptable and shameful” levels of emissions in the capital.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “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.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan made the announcement today
“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.”
Zoleka Mandela, Global Ambassador of Child Health Initiative, said: “We are facing a global crisis and our children are on the front line. As they take their journeys to school every day, millions of children are placed at unacceptable risk. Every single day, 3,000 children are killed or injured on the world’s roads in traffic crashes. Millions of children worldwide breathe toxic air. In the 21st century, how can we allow this?
“In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan is taking action, but leaders everywhere must step up and do more to protect the most vulnerable – for the sake of every child, every life.”
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said: “To ensure good health, every person must be able to breathe clean air no matter where they live.
“London’s plan to clean up their air means millions of people will be able to walk to work and walk their children to school without worrying about whether the air is going to make them sick. More cities around the world must also follow suit.”
Lord Robertson, Chairman of the FIA Foundation, said: “We’re facing a global public health emergency for our children. It’s taking place right in front of us, on our streets.
“Yet the international community is failing to respond with anything like sufficient urgency. Here, in London, we have a Mayor who is listening to children and intervening to protect their health, working to curb toxic emissions and ensure social justice for every child.”
Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, said: “This is great news for Londoners. This support for the Breathe Life campaign and Sadiq Khan’s leadership means that millions of people can cease being hostage to toxic fumes. It sets an example of positive action that we hope cities around the world will follow.”