Air pollution in London is declining, but millions of people continue to suffer

Air pollution in London is declining, but millions of people continue to suffer
Air pollution in London is declining, but millions of people continue to suffer

From the beginning of 2019 to the present, not a single case of exceeding the annual air pollution standards has been recorded. Recall that in 2017, such an excess occurred on the fifth day of the new year.

In 2017, London's air pollution levels exceeded the statutory annual threshold just 5 days after New Year's Eve, and in 2018 - a month later. 3 months of 2019 have already passed, and the excess has not yet been recorded. In 2016, during the reign of the previous mayor, Boris Johnson, 43 violations had already occurred.

According to the latest statistics from the State Register of Atmospheric Emissions (London), approximately two million people, of which 400,000 are children, live in areas where air pollution exceeds acceptable levels. At the same time, the level of nitrogen dioxide in the air is gradually decreasing and can reach permissible levels only after six years.

It was also found that from 2013 to 2016. the total nitrogen dioxide content decreased by 9%. At the same time, during the same period, the number of primary schools located in contaminated areas remained practically unchanged, having decreased from 371 to 369, while the number of secondary schools increased from 81 to 86 (according to City Hall).

Zones of ultra-low atmospheric emissions are being introduced in London on April 8 this year.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London since 2016, will reroute the cleanest buses to the dirtiest parts of the city, as well as introduce entry fees for the most polluting vehicles. These changes will come into effect on April 8 under the Ulez (ultra low emission zone) program, according to which diesel cars - the main source of nitrogen dioxide - will be subject to fines.

“I said from the beginning that I would do my best to overcome the air pollution crisis in London,” says Khan. "The data released today indicates an urgent need for urgent action." The mayor also announced that Ulez will be the only program in the world that operates around the clock, seven days a week.

British ministers lost three times in the first instance court because the national plan to improve air quality was not sufficiently developed. The latest plan they proposed was called "sad" by environmental lawyers. It turned out that the air in London is much more polluted than previously thought.

Poisoned air is responsible for at least 40,000 deaths from lung and heart disease every year - in the UK alone. In addition to death, air pollution leads to serious health problems - from the risk of miscarriages to adolescent psychosis.

“London needs effective measures to improve air quality. The level of pollution should not exceed the permissible level, should not affect the health of children,”says Frank Kelly, professor at King's College London. “I applaud the Mayor and his team for taking decisive action to protect the health of London's children.”

A recent study by King's College showed that, using measures in place during the rule of Mayor Johnson, it would take 193 years to reduce pollution levels. Now, with the entry into force of the new Ulez system, the calculated time to reach the permissible indicators is 6 years.

The material was prepared by specialists of the Moscow center for legalization and apostille in Moscow