London breathes fresh air after two decades

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan revealed data that Londoners breath cleaner air after almost 20 years.

London has not yet breached its annual legal limits for toxic nitrogen dioxide – and for the last 18 years it has done so by January 6, and as early as January 3. 

The London mayor, Sadiq Khan said new greener buses introduced in a key pollution hotspot in Putney have led to a 90% reduction in harmful emissions, with similar programs planned for other areas.

Khan has pledged he “will not rest until every Londoner can breathe clean air”.

Khan wrote: “In London – one of the richest and most well-resourced cities on earth – it’s shameful this problem has been ignored for so long. It is a scandal that air pollution claims the lives of thousands every year and that children have been allowed to grow up in our capital with stunted lungs, while no meaningful action has been taken to safeguard their health.

“I’ve been clear I will not sit by and allow the status quo to carry on. I believe I have a moral responsibility to act – not just to help those today who are blighted by this hazard, but to spare future generations from the debilitating illnesses associated with air pollution, such as asthma and dementia.”

Sources reveal that Khan plans to nearly double funding for air quality and introduce a new central London Ultra-Low Emission Zone – which prevents the highest polluting vehicles from entering certain areas – in April 2019, 17 months earlier than planned.

Pollution has many adverse effects, breathing in air pollutants can lead to heart disease, respiratory problems, stroke and a range of other fatal illnesses, as well as greatly reduce the quality of life for people living without clean air. WHO says, air pollution is linked to millions of premature deaths each year in the UK and US alone. 

According to sources, Pollution affecting the world’s most vulnerable groups is sorrowful including children in developing countries like Bangladesh and Somalia, where air pollution is linked to over one in four deaths

Khan wants environment secretary Michael Gove – who plans to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 – to take more drastic action to tackle the problem.

Environmental lawyers ClientEarth, who have brought legal action against the government over its air quality strategies in the past, will return to the High Court  on January 25.

“In order fully to  protect public health, the government must wake up to the scale of the problem and start taking this issue seriously,” Khan said.

“London and other cities around the UK need new powers through a 21st Century Clean Air Act, which would enable us to more effectively tackle non-road sources of emissions such as construction, generators and from the river.

“Instead of blocking the capital from accessing the new National Clean Air Fund, the government also needs to deliver a much-needed national diesel scrappage fund to help us get the most polluting vehicles off our roads.

“Action at a national level is essential to cleaning up our toxic air. Air pollution transcends national borders and city boundaries, meaning we need a global solution to a global problem.”

Image Source: Financial Times- London © PA

by Israt Yasmin, The Blogging Connection


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