The Big Smokey End

The cold, harsh, smokey reality is that at this moment in time — London is a death trap.

Cyclists are being run down, stabbings are happening in broad daylight and a high-risk pollution warning has been issued over London, with some parts having surpassed their annual pollution limit in the first five days of the year…(places gas mask on face)

On the 6th of February, research by the University of Surrey was published in Environmental International and it confirms that people who commute to work using the tube have a higher risk of being exposed to pollution than car users, in fact, by comparison they are eight times more likely to be exposed to dangerously high levels of toxins – ironic really, that drivers are less exposed than people who use public transport, and yet, they have created the majority of the pollution…

Photo Credit: Public Domain Pictures – Pixabay

Dr. Prashant Kumar, the leader of the study had this to say about the issue:

“We found that there is definitely an element of environmental injustice among those commuting in London, with those who create the most pollution having the least exposure to it.”

An example of the effects is that 45 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions in Greater London come from road transport — put that in your pipe and smoke it…or not.

Another interesting, yet terrifying fact is that London is now worse than Beijing for health risks due to poor air quality. According to the research, 9,400 Londoners die every year due to poor air quality, and without a new health initiative, this could increase even further.

Photo Credit: Javier_Diaz_Ochoa-Pixabay

Whilst Theresa May is planning to slowly phase out diesel vehicles, the urgency of the health risks are imminent and something needs to happen now – right now. The major worry is that these diesel toxins will cause permanent lung damage to the younger generation. Let’s face it, pollution is not a new threat and warnings have been creeping up on the UK for years, but only now, when the threat is at an all time high do we start to think about changing our ways for the good of the future.

Although, we have introduced low emission zones for the busier parts of London, lowered road tax on hybrid vehicles and have smoother traffic control to encourage more efficient drivers we are still battling against the smoke infused air, eventually our children will be forced to take drastic measures to ensure they can survive to live a long and healthy life.

Here are some tips to help you fight back against toxins: buy a pieces of wearable technology to detect your personal exposure to bad air, the ‘airbeam’ is a popular choice, try to reduce the amount of pollution you create by using your car less, not using the gas cooker as much etc. and my most fashionable tip – invest in a wearable face mask (the ones surgeons wear), not only are they practical but they have been seen gracing the runway of China Fashion week last year – fashionable and life saving! Whilst there’s not much we can do to combat this at the moment that is until the larger problems are tackled, the fact that this issue has come to the forefront of the media is a step in the right direction.


<Story by Sophie Ogden>

Enjoy the London Underground with this Book.

Featured Photo Credit: Donations_Are_Appreciate-Pixabay

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