London Commits to Take Action on Air Pollution
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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A report has shown that average annual levels in central London are almost double the recommended WHO limit for dangerous PM2.5 particles.

London has joined the Breathe Life initiative, a global coalition of cities working together to improve air quality, expand monitoring efforts, and accelerate solutions.

London will implement a daily UK£10 per day charge on the most polluting vehicles in the city from 23 October 2017.

4 October 2017: A research report has shown that the level of air pollution in London exceeds World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for PM2.5 particles, which are among the most toxic to human health and are closely linked to increased likelihood of cardiovascular and respiratory illness.

The report, released by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, shows that nearly 95% of people living in London are in areas that exceed WHO guidelines at least by 50%, and the average annual levels in central London almost double the recommended limit for PM2.5 particles.

Road transport is responsible for approximately 50% of NOx emissions in London, with 88% of these caused by diesel vehicles.

The report was released during an international conference held in the city, titled ‘Every Journey, Every Child,’ organized by the FiA Foundation and supported by the Mayor of London, which focused on tackling air pollution in cities and children’s exposure on their journeys to school. During the conference, Kahn signed London up to the ‘Breathe Life’ coalition, an initiative organized by WHO, UN Environment (UNEP) and Clean Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), aiming to mobilize cities and individuals to protect people’s health and the planet from the effects of air pollution. Through developing connections between world cities, the coalition aims to combine expertise, share best practice and work together to improve air quality, expand monitoring efforts, and accelerate solutions. It is hoped that raising awareness and educating citizens about the burden air pollution poses to health and the climate can facilitate greater action to tackle the problem both locally and globally.

Mayor Kahn has stated his commitment to reduce pollution levels to within WHO guidelines by 2030. From 23 October 2017, London will implement a ‘T-Charge,’ or ‘toxicity charge,’ that aims to remove older, more polluting vehicles from central London, by charging them a daily UK£10 charge. This emissions charge seeks to contribute to improved air pollution in the city, with estimations showing that road transport is responsible for approximately 50% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in London, 88% of these caused by diesel vehicles. [UNEP Press Release] [Breathe Life Website]

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