New research has revealed that every Londoner in the capital lives in an area exceeding World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for the most risky toxic particles known as PM2.5.
PM2.5 pollution is linked to 29,000 premature deaths in the United Kingdom every year, Government research shows.
Short and long term exposure to the particles increase the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, while children exposed to the pollutants are more likely to grow up with reduced lung function and to develop asthma.
London mayor Sadiq Khan called the GLA’s research “another damning indictment of London’s toxic air”.
Frank Kelly said that large parts of central London should be pedestrianised or placed off limits to private cars during the day to reduce the tiny toxic particles produced by brakes and tyres.
But Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, told The Guardian: “The mayor can’t credibly claim to be tackling London’s dirty air when he is actively contributing to it by building the Silvertown tunnel, backing City airport expansion and failing to bring in a moratorium on waste incineration”. While the United Kingdom legal limit for PM2.5 is an annual average concentration of 25 micrograms per metre cubed, World Health Organization guideline limits are lower at 10 micrograms, while there is thought to be no safe threshold below which there are no adverse effects.
New data, based on updated 2013 exposure estimates, shows that in central London the average annual levels of PM2.5 are nearly double the World Health Organization guideline limits of 10 µg/m3.
Every resident of London is breathing air that contains unsafe pollutants in concentrations at or above World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, it has been revealed.
Dr Penny Woods, of the British Lung Foundation, said: ‘Quite frankly this research beggars belief. While London has seen a drop in levels of NO2, much of it from diesel vehicle emissions, they are still above the legal limit.