London surpasses 2017 air pollution limit in only 5 days

Just five days into 2017, London has already surpassed its annual air pollution limit. City law states that hourly levels of nitrogen dioxide cannot exceed over 200 micrograms per cubic meter more than 18 times the whole year. But by Thursday night, January 6th, that yearly air pollution limit had already been breached on Brixton Road in Lambeth.

The primary source of nitrogen dioxide pollution has been the use of diesel vehicles, which were once encouraged for their fuel efficiency. The toxic fumes have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and, according to a study performed by King’s College London, causes 5,900 early deaths each year.

While London mayor Sadiq Khan has vowed to double funding to address the chronic air pollution problem, UK government pollution plans have been ruled illegal on two different occasions.

According to Alan Andrews from ClientEarth, “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.

“While these are vital steps in the right direction, we can’t wait another three years for action. We need immediate action to cut pollution in the short-term and protect Londoners’ health during these pollution spikes.”  

In 2016, more than 60% of the 97 air pollution monitoring sites in London breached annual limits for the year, according to report from King’s College London.