All of London exposed to dangerous toxic air particles

Every person living in the UK’s capital city inhabits an area that exceeds World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for the most dangerous toxic air particles.

London exposed to dangerous toxic air particles / Credit shutterstock

That is according to research released today by London mayor, Sadiq Khan, which reveals that nearly 95% of the city’s population lives in an area that exceeds the guidelines by 50% or more.

Known as PM2.5, the particles are widely acknowledged to increase the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and are responsible for 29,000 premature deaths in the UK every year.

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 WHO health standards.

“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.”

The research shows that in central London the average annual levels of PM2.5 are almost double the WHO guideline limits, with the main sources from tyre and brake wear, construction and wood burning.

This is of particular concern for children, with those exposed to the toxic pollutants more likely to grow up with reduced lung function and develop asthma.

Khan has committed to get pollution levels to within WHO guidelines by 2030, and a new T-charge will come into force later this month to remove the older most polluting vehicles from London’s roads.

He also wants a stricter set of emission standards on future sales of wood burning stoves and has set out plans for improved education about the types of fuel that should be used.

“The mayor is right to take a hard line on air pollution, as we all have a basic right to safe clean air,” Greenpeace clean air campaigner, Paul Morozzo, said.

“Restricting diesel will make a big difference to both PM and nitrogen oxide air pollution in London, which is why the mayor has no choice but to get tough on cleaning up our roads.”

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