May 3 2012 by Simon Birkett, Harrow Observer
LONDON is back where we thought it was 60 years ago during the Great Smog of 1952 when we knew nothing of the health impacts of long-term exposure to air pollution.
There are 1,148 schools within 150 metres of London’s most polluted roads.
Research in the United States has shown that living or going to school near such roads may be responsible for up to 30 per cent of all new cases of asthma in children. Traffic-related air pollution may also impact on the lung capacity of children.
These are just two aspects of a public health crisis which accounts for over 4,000 attributable deaths in London every year at an average loss of life for such people of about 11.5 years.
The mayor and the government should be taking bold steps to deal with this crisis and issuing smog alerts to schools and vulnerable people during pollution episodes.
Clean Air in London has scored the manifestos for the Mayoral and London Assembly elections. The Greens score best at 9/10, followed very closely by the Liberal Democrats on 8/10, with Ken Livingstone a bit further behind at 7/10.
Perhaps in a first for the leader of a world city, Boris Johnson has been caught actively working to undermine the two measures most likely to protect the health of Londoners i.e. actively suppressing public awareness of air pollution and orchestrating a major campaign, with the government, to weaken UK and international air quality laws. With no new policies and these two discoveries, Boris Johnson scores minus two and ranks last.
Clean Air in London urges voters to consider these issues when voting on Thursday.
London should be leading the world in tackling air pollution as it did after the Great Smog of 1952.
Founder and director
Clean Air in London