Every Londoner exposed to toxic air pollution: mayor

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-06 05:29:25|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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LONDON, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- A damning report unveiled by London Mayor Sadiq Khan has revealed that almost 8 million people in the British capital live in areas that exceed WHO air quality guidelines by at least 50 percent.

New research by the mayor's office also shows that every area of London now exceeds recommended guidelines for the dangerous toxic air particles, PM2.5.

Khan described as shocking, new research revealed Wednesday showing the extent of pollution every Londoner faces.

The research, based on the latest updated London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, also shows that 7.9 million Londoners, nearly 95 percent of the capital's population, live in areas of London that exceed the PM2.5 guidelines by 50 percent or more.

Khan, speaking at the "Every Journey, Every Child" Conference at London's City Hall Wednesday, signed the capital up to the Breathe Life coalition organized by WHO, UN Environment and Clean Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

The initiative aims to connect similar world cities, combine expertise, share best practice and work together to improve air quality.

A City Hall spokesman said: "PM2.5 are small toxic air particles which are widely acknowledged to have the greatest impact on health with both short and long-term exposure increasing the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

"Children exposed to these toxic pollutants are more likely to grow up with reduced lung function and develop asthma, while PM2.5 is also known to result in 29,000 premature deaths in the UK every year."

Khan has set a target aiming to get pollution levels in London to within WHO guidelines by 2030.

The report shows while around half of PM2.5 in London is from external sources outside the city, the main sources of PM2.5 emissions within London are from tire and brake wear, construction and wood burning. It says this requires a shift towards walking, cycling and using public transport, as well as new technologies like electric cars.

Khan, said: "It's sickening to know that not a single area of London meets World Health Organization health standards, but even worse than that, nearly 95 percent of the capital is exceeding these guidelines by at least 50 percent.

"We should be ashamed that our young people -- the next generation of Londoners -- are being exposed to these tiny particles of toxic dust that are seriously damaging their lungs and shortening their life expectancy," he added.