As Mayor Sadiq Khan warned of a “public health emergency,” a toxic air alert was issued for London for the next three days, starting Wednesday.
A toxic air alert has been issued for London over the next three days, as Mayor Sadiq Khan warns of a “public health emergency.”
Air pollution is expected to reach a “high peak” in many central parts of London, including Westminster and the Square Mile, after it had risen to “moderate” on Wednesday.
Air toxicity levels are expected to drop back down to normal on Friday.
The Toxic Air Alert
“London’s dirty air is a public health emergency,” Khan said.
“We will continue to use all the technology at our disposal to inform Londoners about levels of air pollution in their neighborhoods.”
Air toxicity is reportedly expected to drop back down to normal on Friday. However, the Department for Environment suggested the pollution episode could last until at least Sunday.
Officials are advising that adults and children with lung problems and heart problems who experience symptoms- such as sore eyes, a cough or sore throat- to consider reducing strenuous activity, particularly outdoors.
Older people are given the same advice. They also advise asthmatic people to use their inhalers more often.
Breaching Annual Air Pollution Limits
Just a few days ago, London had breached its annual pollution limit for the entire year of 2017 in just five days on Brixton Road in Lambeth. Officials have said that many other sites across the capital may follow.
By law, hourly levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide have to be below 200 micrograms per cubic meter, more than 18 times in 2017.
This was broken in just the first five days of the year. This is not the first time the UK has broken pollution records. Putney High Street had exceeded their hourly limit over 1,200 times in 2016.
Oxford Street, Kings Road in Chelsea, and the Strand are other areas that are known to have dense pollution.
Alan Andrews, a lawyer at ClientEarth – the group that successfully sued the government – said: “This is another shameful reminder of the severity of London’s air pollution and shows why the mayor has rightly made tackling it a top priority. It is absolutely essential that he now delivers on his promises and that the national government back him to the hilt.”