The air quality in London became so toxic on Monday that it triggered a black alert.
One school in central London restricted time outdoors for children.
The “very high” readings were detected in Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School in the City area, as well as Camden – Swiss Cottage, Bloomsbury, Euston, and Marylebone Road in Westminster.
The readings measure particle pollution in the air quality. The readings were taken at 6am local time.
By 9am 12 red “high” alerts had been issued across Britain’s capital city. Including Hammersmith and Fulham, Redbridge, Greenwich, Kensington and Chelsea, Ealing, Richmond, Brent, Enfield, Harrow, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, and Lambeth.
Schools Particularly Affected
It wasn’t just younger pupils who were being affected by poor air quality. Older pupils were advised in some schools to exercise less if feeling unwell.
Most schools were particularly worried about long-term respiratory diseases such as asthma.
Toxic air black spots can be very localised and are prone to change. Traffic levels are thought to be a cause and air quality can deteriorate if a school is close to heavy traffic areas. Similarly, black spots can clear quickly if the winds are high and simply blow the particulates away.
Professor of Paediatric Respiratory and Environmental Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, Jonathan Grigg, said, “For children with asthma and other long-term respiratory diseases, it would be prudent not to have them exercising outside on these sort of days when pollution is so high.”
Air quality is considered “black” when the level reaches 100 micrograms per cubic metre.
Official advice states that if pollution levels reach very high reduce outdoor activity especially if symptoms such as sore throats and coughs are experienced. Pensioners, young children, and adults with lung and heart problems may need to take further precautions.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is going to introduce a T-Charge on the most polluting vehicles that drive in London.