9,416 LONDONERS die early every year because of air pollution
Tagged: air pollution Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts
After the stasis of Mr Johnson’s tenure the new mayor is proposing a genuine step change in attitudes to air pollution in the city and there’s a consultation on the suggestions at https://talklondon.london.gov.uk/cleaning-londons-air-pollution. (For a start, no mealy mouthed reference to ‘air quality’ but a title that recognises the need for action.)
The introductory page https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/environment/pollution-and-air-quality/your-views-how-can-we-clean-our-air notes that
Suggestions for addressing this include widening the ULEZ (ultra low emission zone) and bringing forward the start dates for such controls, plus various ideas for permanent or temporary closure of roads to vehicles, as well as the idea of a vehicle scrappage scheme, ie paying a fee to owners of polluting vehicles to take them out of circulation.
There’s also space to add your own ideas which could include
- Ring fencing the charges for entering the ULEZ to pay for changes to make walking and cycling easier and more attractive
- Introducing more car club vehicles so those who give up their cars can transfer easily to using shared vehicles
- Introducing a day-time ban for large vehicles, which as well as being polluting (being diesel) are so dangerous particularly for cyclists.
The programme is no longer easily accessible but the results are summarised at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01dgd9c/features/pollutionexperiment. Silver birches were planted along a busy road and the pollution measured inside neighbouring houses both with and without the trees outside. Those with the trees recorded pollution levels 50-60% lower than the houses without the trees.
Apparently birch trees are particularly effective in trapping pollution but all greening will improve air quality.
Usefully trees can also hold water in the event of heavy rain, to mitigate extremes of heat and cold. And they improve mental health. One study found that a child in Projects in Chicago who could see just one tree from their window would enjoy better mental health than a child who could see only buildings.
Moral, we need to plant more trees and green more walls and roofs.