92% of Londoners are aware of the detrimental effects of air pollution. Hence the way we feel in everyday life can be defined by the quality of the air we breathe! It delineates our mood, our ability to focus and perform. Pollutants* rising levels cause direct irritation to our respiratory system, may source shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and chest pain. It aggravates chronic pulmonary disease, allergies, and asthma. That just a few to name …
Just in London 9, 400 premature deaths are associated with poor air quality. No wonder why NHS spends around 3.7 billion a year to fight air pollution linked sicknesses! Currently, two-thirds of London parents are selecting a school for their kids based on the area pollution level. Around 50% of Londoners revealed that the air quality is directly affecting their decision regarding outdoor physical exercise and when selecting their place to live.
This leads to the question of why some areas of London are more polluted than others? And how we can act to support better air quality in these most endangered places? UKBT is working on the Pollution bot which could provide you with quick information about the air quality in your area with info about pollutant health effects etc.; from there you can plan your travel and exercise accordingly.
The government has already implied some plans to improve air quality as part of the Clean Air Strategy. Tracking and storing data about an area’s levels of air pollution at regular intervals can help councils and local authorities recognize the influence and implication of events like festivals, parades, or street parties amongst other things. Developing an awareness of how much these events might add to air pollution could inspire people to innovate and improve them.
To summarize, this article is about reminding you of the importance of each and one of us acting. By making small individual changes we can draw a better bigger picture. Consider upgrading your vehicle to electric or hydrogen or think of the “smarter travel” like cycling, scootering, or walking… If you use petrol refuel your car in the evening when its cooler and be sure your tires are properly inflated. Mulch or compost yard waste, avoid burning leaves, trash, and other materials, prevent using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment…When buying home or office equipment look for the energy star label.
Whatever you do, it may contribute to the overall health of people living in London. We do not have to wait for the new law to improve our everyday lives.
* ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM) and Sulphur dioxide (SO2) and aeroallergens