Science

S.London road passes ANNUAL air pollution level in five days

S.London road passes ANNUAL air pollution level in five days

Yesterday pollution monitors on the busy Brixton Road, Lambeth, registered NO2 levels above 200 micrograms of NO2 per cubic metre from 7am through until 1am this morning, a total of 18 hours - reaching the European Union time limit for the entire year.

Under EU law people should not be exposed to such high levels of N02 more than 18 times in an entire year.

However, Brixton Road in Lambeth had exceeded the guideline 19 times by 9pm on Thursday the 5th of January, monitoring from the London Air Project at King's College suggests.

This is not the only pollution hotspot in London; Oxford Street, Putney High Street, the Strand, and Kings Road in Chelsea are also set to break the limit, according to the data.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Sophie Neuberg said: "Air pollution is a major health threat, particularly to children and other vulnerable people, contributing to nearly 10,000 premature deaths every year in London".

He said that the London mayor "has promised to introduce a bigger ultra-low emission zone in 2019 and to deploy the cleanest buses on the most polluted roads".

The road is often full of buses passing through Brixton into Central London, often leaving a large number sitting in traffic jams as the road bottlenecks, as it goes through the centre of Brixton, next to the Tube entrance.

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Air pollution should be a thing of the past, but in many cities across the world, London included, toxic emissions from factories and diesel powered vehicles continues to pollute the air we breathe. The diesel push has meant that although air in Europe is far cleaner overall than in many parts of the globe, it still can be - and often is - deadly. They must include a national network of clean air zones, which stop the dirtiest diesel vehicles entering pollution hotspots.

But ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews warned that Londoners could not wait three years and that immediate action was needed.

One such measure was announced by the incumbent mayor of the city, Saqid Khan, who has promised to pledge almost £900m over the course of the next five years to reduce the harm that leads to almost 6,000 deaths annually in London.

Sadiq is also the first Mayor of London to use electronic bus, roadside and London Underground signs to warn Londoners about the very worst pollution days.

But campaigners at Friends of the Earth London say he's not doing enough. It's usually Putney High Street - four miles west of Brixton - that is the primary pollution hot spot. The government's draft plans to tackle air pollution, as ordered by the High Court, are due in April. "This is why the government must take much bolder and quicker action including planning to phase out diesel by 2025".

Attention on the harm caused to human health by NO₂ was triggered in September 2015 when it emerged that Volkswagen had cheated NO₂ emissions tests in the U.S., affecting 1.2 million diesel cars in the UK.


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