The air that we breathe affects us all, this is the one topic that unites us all across the political divides – we all breathe the same air. Air pollution is a very important issue in London.
It has been said that RBKC has the most polluted air in the United Kingdom, with more than one in 12 of all deaths in the London borough attributable to tiny particles of soot largely emitted by diesel engines.
The only other borough with similar pollution levels is Westminster. These statistics come from Public Health England.
In London, 3,389 people died of air pollution and 41,404 “life years” were lost in 2010, while in south-east England, 4,034 people died and 41,728 years were lost.
In our local Borough the air quality frequently exceeds safety standards, with nitrogen dioxide and heavy particulate pollution at levels that are a known threat to our health.
There are steps we can take as individuals and as a community to improve the air quality in our borough.
Together, we need to continue to campaign for joined up thinking that integrates climate and air quality outcomes with how we use and source energy and transport for healthier air.
Housing: For example, we all know that new buildings have to meet modern standards for pollution and energy saving, but how can we improve the energy efficiency of older buildings? Poorly built buildings mean that the residents can have damp or poorly ventilated buildings, and high fuel bills which waste expensive energy making them having to worry about heating or eating.
An example of how poor air quality affects our health:
- Asthma is one of the most common long-term conditions in the UK, affecting almost 1.1 million children and 4.3 million adults – that’s 1 in 11 people.
- Every 10 seconds someone is having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.
- Every day three people die from asthma, yet the National Review of Asthma Deaths shows that two out of three deaths are preventable.
- The UK has amongst the highest death rates from asthma in Europe.
Transport: We need to continue the campaign against diesel fuels and encourage alternatives.
Rubbish – We each need to consider the rubbish that cannot be recycled as we are contributing to the overall costs of getting rid of waste – so we should check that we are not adding to this – an example is non re-usable coffee cups and coffee pods!
RBKC have had some success locally with “Green Walls” and we should ask all our local schools and public buildings to “green” their walls – ivy is great at absorbing pollution, and a school in Earls Court has reduced pollution by over 40%August 9th, 2017